In addition to a varied and balanced diet, regular exercise is essential to stay fit and healthy, as well as to keep your heart strong after 50. Basically, all exercise is good for your heart, as it keeps you active. However, certain activities are especially beneficial. So, no more excuses and let’s get those trainers on!
Why you should exercise
Your heart is a muscle, and regular exercise boosts its strength and general health. According to WebMD, inactive people are nearly twice as likely to develop heart disease than those who work out regularly.
Being active helps to prevent diseases and reduces the risk of heart disease and stroke, diabetes, cholesterol, high blood pressure and breast cancer, as well as many other conditions.
What are the best exercises to keep your heart healthy?
Running, jogging, dancing, water aerobics, skiing, tennis, rowing, and biking are all good activities for your heart. The choice is yours! These exercises are ideal for raising your heartbeat and, therefore, strengthening your heart. Those over 50 who experience joint issues can opt for swimming instead.
A good tip to help you know when you’re pushing it too hard is to observe if you can talk when you’re exercising. If you can’t, slow down, you’re overdoing it!
Brisk walking is the perfect aerobic exercise. It stands somewhere between walking and running. It’s faster than moderate walking but not as fast as race-walking. All you have to do is walk at a pace of at least three miles per hour, which is roughly 20 minutes per mile. Accompanied by a 50 plus friend or your significant other, exercising can even become enjoyable!
There are numerous benefits of brisk walking. It helps lower the risk of high blood pressure, cholesterol, and diabetes, three conditions that can lead to a heart attack.
If you don’t like brisk walking, walking at a normal pace and running are also good exercises for the heart. Specialists recommend walking at least 30 minutes a day to stay healthy.
Moderate weight training offers great benefits to those with heart diseases, when practiced regularly. You can incorporate weights, elastic bands and machines, but simply using your own body weight (like in yoga) is great too. Not only will it get your heart going, this type of exercise will also improve your muscle strength and bone density.
However, listen to your body and don’t force yourself. Heavy weights could put too much pressure on your joints and end up doing more harm than good.
Boost your flexibility and balance by doing stretches, whether this is before and after your practice, or as a completely separate form of exercise.
The calm movements of yoga, for instance, can help to reduce blood pressure, which makes your blood vessels more elastic and improves your heart health. It also increases the strength of your core muscles.
Pilates is also ideal for mature women and men, as it strengthens your core muscles, improves flexibility, muscle strength and tone. Exercise 2-3 times a week to get the best results.
Being active daily
Gardening, cleaning, climbing steps, hoovering, carrying groceries or taking the dog out for a walk are all activities that will keep you active all day. If you’re staying active and you are not vegging out too much on your sofa, you’re doing it right! You are more likely to be healthier than those who work out 30 to 60 minutes daily but spend the rest of their time sat in front of a computer.
Before you start
If you are getting back into sports and are over 50, make sure that you start slowly and avoid pushing yourself too much. Doing it right is vital to avoid hurting yourself. Pay attention to any pain that you might feel and stop immediately if and when it occurs. In addition, you should consult a doctor before you start your practice to make sure everything is in working order.