The Best Exercises For Your Heart

water aerobics( — Whether you’ve gone for a run, a swim, and hit the weights, your body let’s you’ve know that you’ve gotten in a good workout. But…can you feel what else you’ve worked – like your heart?

Any time you exercise and raise your heart rate, you’re helping yourself get healthier. Different types of exercise help your heart:

1. Aerobic exercise

2. Strength-training exercises

3. Yoga or Pilates classes

How Aerobics Strengthen Your Heart

You may already know that aerobic exercise does the most to strengthen your heart and reduce the risk of heart disease.

“Aerobic exercise provides the best reduction of cardiovascular risk and has been studied extensively for its effects,” says Alfred Bove, MD, PhD, professor emeritus at the Temple University School of Medicine and past president of the American College of Cardiology. “Regular aerobic exercise reduces risk of sudden death from heart disease, improves outcomes from heart surgery, and lowers overall risk of heart disease.”

Aerobic exercise is any type of physical activity that increases your heart rate — think of exercises like running, brisk walking, biking, and swimming.

Beyond Aerobic Exercise

Is aerobic exercise and an increased heart rate all you need for a healthy heart and to prevent heart disease? Not necessarily. To get the greatest benefits for your heart, it’s a good idea to incorporate strength training into your exercise routine.

First of all, strength training offers benefits for health and well-being. “Resistance exercise provides benefits such as better bone strength, better balance, and some improvements in aerobic capacity,” says Dr. Bove. Strength training helps you stay leaner, and maintaining a healthy body weight is crucial for a healthy heart and to prevent heart disease.

Strength training may also have more benefits than once thought. Studies are now showing that strength training may directly improve cardiovascular health, helping to strengthen the heart. One small study conducted by researchers at the West Virginia University School of Medicine found that including weightlifting in an exercise routine helped to lower LDL, or bad, cholesterol levels by as much as 5 percent. The American Heart Association now recommends strength training as another form of exercise to help prevent heart disease and as a part of cardiac rehabilitation for those who have had a heart attack.

In addition to aerobic and strength exercises, yoga and Pilates classes can help the heart by reducing stress – a major, but often underestimated, contributor to heart disease.


Healthy Heart Exercise: How and When to Work Out

For a healthy heart, you should work out for about two and a half hours per week at a moderate intensity. For a greater challenge, you can opt instead for 75 minutes per week at a vigorous pace.

Keep in mind that you don’t have to work out so hard that you’re sweating profusely or gasping for breath in order to help prevent heart disease. “High-intensity exercise is not needed to improve heart disease risk,” says Bove. While high-intensity exercise improves overall conditioning and lowers heart risk, exercise at a more moderate intensity will still help to prevent heart disease and strengthen a healthy heart.

Not sure when you can fit in an hour or even 30 minutes at a time to exercise? You don’t have to. You can get the same heart-healthy benefits by breaking up your workout into short sessions — 10 minutes here, 15 minutes there.

If you’re new to exercise, you can start slowly and gradually build up the time and intensity.

The Miami Heat’s Eddy Curry: 100 Pounds Lost, A 2nd Chance Found

Eddy Curry( — The New York Knicks’ loss to the Chicago Bulls on Dec. 17, 2009, wasn’t a memorable one for the franchise in another lost season. But for Eddy Curry it holds significance.

It was the last time he played in an NBA game until 2012.

Curry had been sidelined for more than two years with weight and conditioning problems that, at their worst, pushed the 6-foot-10 center to close to 400 pounds. Now with the Miami Heat and weighing a “svelte” 295, Curry made his long-awaited return to the court in Thursday’s game against the Los Angeles Lakers. He totaled six points and three rebounds in six minutes.

“It was humbling, I guess, sitting back not playing, wanting to be there for one reason or another and not being able to be out there,” Curry said recently. “I look at it as a second chance and an opportunity to right this ship.”

Curry showed signs of living up to his potential as the No. 4 overall pick of the 2001 draft, averaging 19.5 points and seven rebounds for the Knicks in 81 games during the 2006-07 season. As his weight increased, his production – and minutes – dropped. He’s appeared in just 10 games the past four seasons, including none last season. The Minnesota Timberwolves waived Curry after acquiring him in the three-team Carmelo Anthony trade.

In desperate need of help to resume his career, Curry returned to his hometown of Chicago to work with trainer Tim Grover. The Heat became intrigued last March and brought Curry to Miami for a workout, but he still weighed close to 350. After the lockout ended, he signed a one-year, veteran’s minimum deal paying him $1.3 million for this season.

Curry began training camp weighing around 330 pounds. A hip injury delayed his debut even further, but he was able to lose another 35 pounds. Now 29, Curry said he’s in his best shape since he was drafted.

“I worked hard this offseason,” Curry said. “I got hurt in training camp, but I guess it was a blessing in disguise because I got to get with the strength-and-conditioning staff and medical staff and really get right. I’m feeling good. This is the lightest I’ve been in a long, long time.”

The Heat have a well-rounded roster, but they are lacking a space-eating center. Joel Anthony is undersized at 6-9 and 245 pounds. Dexter Pittman and rookie Michael Gladness are unproven. Curry could give the Heat some needed size – provided he can stay in shape and stay on the court.

“I just want to see him healthy,” Dwyane Wade said. “He’s a very talented guy. When healthy, there are not many people that can do what he can do. He’s been doing a good job with our staff of working his tail off to give himself a shot to get on the floor. We’re excited about the opportunity.”

Curry isn’t spending much time dwelling on his lost seasons. He’s focusing only on the future and is confident he can still revive his career.

“Afterwards, if everything goes how I want it to go and how we want it to go, maybe I’ll look back and say, ‘Wow, that was pretty crazy,’ ” he said. “Right now I’m looking at it as, I worked my tail off and I deserve to be out there, and I will be out there and make an impact.”