4 ways to take care of your heart when you start to exercise

Go slow should be your mantra to help your heart reap the benefits of exercises.

Exercise helps you keep your heart healthy and it is one of the best ways to increase life expectancy naturally. But at times too much exercise can be detrimental to your heart as well. There are enough incidences we know where people collapsed on the treadmill or at the weight training area because their heart was unable to cope with the pressure. This is why fitness experts and doctors suggest going slow and being consistent with your exercise regime. Here are 10 ways to keep your heart healthy.

However, if you are taking up exercising to boost your heart health, here is what you need to know: Aerobic exercises are the best form of exercise that ensures a healthy heart. They increase the efficiency of the respiratory muscles, improve cardiac capacity, help in weight and sugar control thus contributing to the overall cardiac benefit. Exercises like walking, jogging, swimming, dancing and biking fall under the category of aerobic exercises. Anaerobic exercises, on the other hand, such as heavy weight training are not advised for patients with heart diseases and hypertension, says Dr Venkatesh S, Consultant Interventional Cardiologist Fortis Hospital, Bannerghatta Road, Bangalore. Here are 10 daily habits that are making your heart age faster.

Here are few tips Dr Venkatesh offers to keep in mind before starting out to exercise, especially if you have a heart condition:

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  1. Measure the APHR before planning an exercise routine: The intensity of aerobic exercises recommended is scientifically calculated by measuring the Age-predicted maximum heart rate (APHR). APHR is calculated by subtracting your age from 220. For example, if your age is 30 years, APHR is 220-30 = 190. Ideal exercise intensity is the one which increases the pulse rate to about 70-80% of the maximum heart rate. With the availability of wearable devices that measure heart rate during jogging or walking, this can be easily monitored. If you are not using a device, the rough way to achieve the ideal level of exercise is as follows: While doing an exercise activity you should be mildly out of breath but when attempting to speak, you must be able to complete sentences. If you are not experiencing any degree of breathlessness, you are too slow. Conversely, if you are so breathless that you can t utter complete sentences, you are pushing too hard and need to slow down.
  1. Get a clearance from your doctor: Before taking up a regular aerobic exercise program, especially for individuals above 35 years of age, get the right advice from your doctor. Checking the blood pressure and performing a treadmill test to rule out underlying heart diseases would be ideal, as heart diseases even in the young are rampant. Here are six smart lifestyle changes to keep high blood pressure in control.
  2. Don t set up unnatural fitness goals: Don t plan long distance running or marathons, especially if you are suffering from one or the other heart conditions. While running is safe for the heart, but one must understand that running is just one part of lifestyle change. Many people who take up running after getting a green signal from the doctor continue to smoke or pursue other vices, and in such cases, running will be of no help.
  3. Be cautious with weight training: Weight training helps people with heart diseases in many ways. However, heavy weight lifting and professional bodybuilding are not advised for patients with heart diseases and hypertension. Light weights for strengthening and toning of muscles is fine along with aerobic exercises.

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