February is American Heart Month… a time to increase awareness about healthy heart habits.
While some factors leading to heart disease are out of our control, there are many ways we can improve our heart health. One way is through exercise. The NIH (National Institutes of Health) reports over time, exercise can:
- Strengthen the heart muscle and improve lung function
- Reduce risk for coronary heart disease
- Lower blood pressure
- Lower triglycerides
- Raise good cholesterol (HDL)
In addition to strength training 2+ times per week, the CDC (Centers for Disease Control) recommends weekly cardio exercise:
For Health Benefits:
- 150 minutes – moderate intensity exercise
- Or, 75 minutes – vigorous intensity exercise
For Fitness & Additional Health Benefits:
- 300 minutes – moderate intensity exercise
- Or, 150 minutes – vigorous intensity exercise
Looking for some ways to add more cardio into your routine? The Smart Pak offers a portable system that can help you or your clients build cardio strength. It comes in a backpack and includes an Agility Ladder, Jump Rope, Medicine Ball, and Resistance Tubing.
Use all four items for Interval Circuit Training. Do 1-3 minutes of work followed by 30-90 seconds of rest as you quickly switch exercises. Alternate lower and upper body muscle groups. A sample workout would look like:
- Circuit (Repeat for 20-45 minute workout)
- Cool down
Add additional body weight exercises into the circuit or vary the exercises performed with the equipment to add variety and achieve full-body conditioning.
Have a heart this February – give this critical muscle some love through cardio!