Exercises to Power Up Your Heart

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Keep that ticker ticking away.

The human heart is a stubborn muscle. The one thing it wants to do more than anything is its duty, pumping oxygenated blood to the rest of your body and keeping you alive and well. That being said, you gotta meet your heart halfway here. The heart, just like any muscle, needs regular exercise in order to do its job to the best of its ability, and you want it doing its best job, because if it doesn’t, well, you’re dead. Or, in a less-extreme example, you just have very little energy. Either way, do some quality cardio for your old friend.

The nice thing about cardio is that it doesn’t require a lot of equipment. If you want to exercise your heart, just go for a walk! Speed walking raises your heart rate by reasonable amount, doesn’t overly stress your joints, and gets your heart used to beating at faster intervals. If just walking’s too boring for you, try swimming or cycling. In addition to working out the rest of your body, swimming and cycling both encourage your heart to beat faster and steadier, plus they’re just generally pretty fun. A rigorous swim is especially pleasant on a hot summer day.

Even if you’re not a fan of excessive motion, you can still beef up your heart with less intensive movements. For example, I’ll bet you didn’t know yoga is actually a great heart rate-raiser. It seems counterintuitive, right? Slow, methodical movements raising your heart rate? But holding complicated poses requires exertion and concentration, both of which can raise your heart rate and improve your blood flow. Bodyweight training works in much the same way, though it’s a lot less complicated. Your heart beats in accordance with your brain’s needs, so when you’re focusing on a physical task, your heart beats faster to accommodate the need for more blood.

Your heart wants nothing more than for you to be happy and healthy. And you love your heart, don’t you? It’d be pretty weird if you didn’t.