According to the US Department of Health and Human Services heart disease is the number one killer of American women. One out of every three women in the US dies of heart disease. Nearly two-thirds of American women who die suddenly of a heart attack had no prior symptoms. Americans can lower their risk of heart disease by as much as 82% just by leading a healthy lifestyle. One lifestyle change that you can do today to reduce your risk of heart disease is to exercise regularly. Physical exercise not only helps to fight heart disease but it can also reduce your risk of high blood pressure, osteoporosis, breast and colon cancer, depression, anxiety and stress.
A regular fitness routine including cardiovascular (cardio) exercises at least three times a week will improve the strength of your heart and help it work more efficiently. This will also help reduce high blood pressure, control your cholesterol levels, and help keep diabetes in check by improving your body’s ability to metabolize glucose.
There are many other health benefits of cardiovascular fitness exercises including:
- helps with weight loss by mobilizing excess fat from the body
- improves flexibility and builds muscle
- increases your energy store in the body
- decreases your risk of orthopedic injury by improving flexibility
- helps build healthy bones, muscles and joints
For optimum health you should exercise 3-5 times a week. When people hear the term “cardio” usually they think of running or walking on a treadmill. However, there are several other ways to get your heart rate up.
- AerobicsMost gyms offer aerobic classes to help you get your heart pumping. If you are not a member of a gym you can also purchase fitness DVDs that feature aerobic exercises designed by professional fitness trainers at your local discount store.
- DancingYou can get an excellent cardio workout from dancing. It can be as simple as listening to your favorite upbeat music and moving your body to it in the comfort of your own living room or dancing to a Zumba dance DVD or a dance game on your Wii or X Box. Gyms, YMCA’s and parks and recreation departments also offer dance classes.
Bicycling is another great cardio workout. A half and hour bike ride three times a week can help get your heart rate up to improve physical fitness.
Other cardiovascular fitness exercises include, jogging, stair climbing, rowing, and swimming. You should make sure your heart is pumping at a rate of around 108 beats per minute or within the range of 105 to 112 beats per minute while exercising.
If you don’t have a heart monitor you can check your pulse for 6 seconds after 5 minutes of exercise and then multiply your pulse with 10 to make it beats per minute. If your heart beat is less than 105 beats per minutes then you should increase the speed of your exercise and recheck your pulse. If your heart beat is more than 112 beats per minute then slow down and recheck.
For those that are just starting a cardiovascular fitness routine you should begin with just 5 to 10 minutes a day and gradually increase it to 30 minutes per day, 3-5 times a week.
If you have any of these health conditions; heart disease, chest pains, shortness of breath, high blood pressure, dizziness, bone or joint pains, insulin-dependent diabetes which is not properly controlled or are planning to vigorously exercise after a long period of inactivity make sure you consult your doctor before starting a regular fitness routine.
How often do you exercise? I challenge all Healthy Moms Magazine readers to incorporate 30 minutes of cardio 3-5 times a week starting today. If you decide to take on this challenge please share with us your progress either in a comment here or in our forum.
Cascia Talbert is a busy blogger, publisher, freelance writer, online merchant and mother of five children, living in The Pacific Northwest. With a B.A. in history and law and a passion for writing and staying healthy, she started The Healthy Moms Magazine in 2007. The Healthy Moms Magazine is currently ranked the top health blog for moms and features several health expert writers and mom bloggers. Ms. Talbert believes that if mothers are well educated on health issues and how to stay healthy, they can pass that information down to their children and reverse the childhood obesity statistics in the U.S.
Ms. Talbert is a featured health blogger at Wellsphere.com and her articles can also be found on ezinearticles.com. She also runs the Healthy Moms Social Network on Ning, manages Mom’s Natural Health and Wellness Store, and is on the Social Media Advisory Board for America’s Wellness Challenge.