Sport keeps you fit and is ideal for losing weight. Sufficient exercise also improves the performance of the heart. Despite all reservations, people with cardiovascular problems should exercise regularly. Intensity and the right exercises are important. We asked Professor Ingo Froböse from the German Sports University in Cologne about this topic and received effective training tips.
Heart must work more economically
In order to keep your heart healthy and get the cardiovascular system going, you have to “economize on heart work,” says Froböse. This means: The heart rate and the total heart load should be minimized. It is optimal “to achieve higher performance with less effort”. In order to keep the heart healthy and to optimize heart work, moderate training is therefore necessary.
Optimal is the four-step breathing rhythm
“Running without panting is the motto,” says Froböse. Jogging, Nordic walking and cycling are best. It is important that the training load is not too high and that you always have enough oxygen. For example, the four-step breathing rhythm is ideal for jogging:
“Breathe in four steps and out four steps,” the expert suggests. If you stick to the training, there will be positive effects: The heart muscle is better supplied with blood and more oxygen is transported, the resistance in the blood vessels is reduced and the heart is strengthened.
Light weight training is especially important for older people
In addition to endurance sports, light strength training is recommended. Especially older people who have already lost muscle mass should integrate strength training into their training plan. “Especially the six large muscle groups need to be trained,” says Froböse.
This includes: Back, shoulders, legs, chest, biceps and triceps. For training, the expert recommends the following exercises: Squats, abdominal exercises such as crunches, trunk lifting for a strong back and push-ups as well as arm bend exercises. “The higher the performance, the lower the cardiovascular load,” says the sports scientist.
Older people in particular should exercise
The expert also emphasizes that all exercises can be well integrated into everyday life. “Walk more paths and climb stairs. 40 floors per week climbing stairs keeps your heart healthy,” says Froböse.
The excuse that you are too old to get your heart and circulation going is not accepted by the expert. “People over 50 should train five times a week for 20 to 30 minutes.” By the way, this does not include housework or gardening, emphasises Froböse. The breathing rate is much too low with these activities.
Regular exercise lowers blood pressure
In addition, you can reduce risk factors such as high blood pressure, overweight, diabetes and elevated blood lipids through regular training. It also reduces your risk of cardiovascular disease. Improved endurance also leads to increased performance, which can be positively reflected in your everyday life, work and leisure time.
How you can improve your heart function in spring
Now, in spring, nature lures you out into the open. The warmer season also offers the chance to do something for your heart health. The good news: it doesn’t always have to be regular sport, even daily exercise in smaller doses can have a big effect.
Spring at last! More sun, more drive, more good mood. This also means that the days are getting longer and the temperatures are slowly climbing up. No wonder that in a representative survey conducted by the opinion research institute Emnid 81 percent of the participants stated that in spring they would like to exercise outdoors.
The warmer season offers the chance to do something for heart health at the same time. Particularly for people with coronary heart disease (CHD) such as heart attacks, strokes and heart failure, physical activity can have a positive effect on health.
LDL cholesterol causes arteriosclerosis
Heart diseases occur when coronary vessels narrow or close. This leads to hardening of the arteries (arteriosclerosis) and increases the risk of a heart attack. Above all, elevated LDL cholesterol favours deposits on the inner walls of the blood vessels.
This is why LDL (Low Density Lipoprotein) is also known as “bad” cholesterol – in contrast to “good” HDL cholesterol (High Density Lipoprotein). It protects the blood vessels from deposits. Read here which foods – also due to their cholesterol value – can prevent heart diseases.
Getting more exercise into your daily routine
In addition to a healthy diet, daily exercise protects against vascular calcification and improves heart function. However, it is not always easy to accommodate physical activity in everyday life. Little time, a lot of stress and fatigue before and after work and family commitments often put a stop to good intentions. We tell you how you can still get more exercise into your daily routine – without having to plan for extra time.