A regular workout plan has many benefits; one of them is keeping your heart in good shape. Our hearts are a muscle and they get stronger and healthier with regular exercise. Incorporating a workout plan, however simple, into your week can be a vital component in warding off heart disease and other health problems. Exercise can be as simple as a daily walk or playing basketball with your buddies; people who don’t exercise are almost twice as likely to get heart disease as people who are active.

Among its benefits, a workout plan can help you lower your blood pressure and decrease your “bad” cholesterol while increasing your “good” cholesterol.

Keep Your Heart Healthy with this Workout Plan

  1. The first step to starting a workout plan is to take a fitness evaluation with your doctor or fitness professional. Have them test your resting and exertion heart rate, blood pressure, and body fat.
  2. Once you have an idea of your fitness level, you can identify some activities that you would enjoy and whether you would like to work out with a fitness trainer at a gym, by yourself at home, or join a sports team.

Workout ideas:

  • Lift weights and use the treadmill/stationary bike/elliptical
  • Trail run
  • Join a sports team
  • Learn to play tennis
  • Group classes such as Zumba or Pilates

If you want to do something that’s above your current fitness level, set steps to achieve your goal. For example, you may want to become a runner but find that you need to take frequent walking breaks in the beginning.

  1. Your workout plan should incorporate aerobic/cardio exercise. This includes activities that get your heart pumping such as running, jogging, and biking. Although you should be breathing harder, you should still be able to talk to someone while you’re working out. A low impact activity like swimming is a great alternative for those with joint issues.
  2. Stretching is a very important part of any workout plan, preferably after you’ve warmed up or finished exercising.
  3. Strength training can be done with free weights, weight machines, resistance bands, or your own body weight.

How Much Should I Exercise?

The goal should be 30-60 minutes of moderate to intense physical activity 4-5 days per week. If you are starting at a low fitness level, a brisk 30 minute walk 5 days per week would be a great way to get started. As you become more fit add running and strength training into the mix. Do strength training 2-3 times per week but let your muscles recover for a day between sessions.

Stop working out and seek immediate medical help if you have pain or pressure in your chest or the upper part of your body, break out in a cold sweat, have trouble breathing, have a very fast or uneven heart rate, or feel dizzy, lightheaded, or exhausted.

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