During the TWC, most of us are more mindful than usual about planning and executing our daily fitness regimen. Some of us already exercise consistently while others might be starting a new journey. Whatever the case, we all notice how much better we feel mentally and physically when we take time to work our bodies.
Running, cycling, swimming, hiking, yoga, tennis, burpees and jump rope are all great forms of exercise, especially if they elevate your heart rate. A simple perceived sense of exertion tells us our heart rate is elevated when we are breathing heavily but able to carry on a conversation.
If you’re breathing so hard that you cannot speak a complete sentence, it’s a good idea to take things down a notch. Feelings of nausea, lightheadedness or dizziness are signs that your heart is working too hard and you should slow down immediately. Keep walking if you can until the feelings subside. As always, it’s really important to listen to what your body is telling you.
Why Elevate Your Heart Rate?
The heart is a muscle and needs exercise too. According to a recent article in the Washington Post by David Brown, “Although many organs, and the body as a whole, are helped by exercise, the cardiovascular system — the heart and blood vessels — is helped the most.”
Brown reports that the body loses muscle mass with age, and the heart, being mostly muscle, isn’t spared. Aerobic exercise, also known as cardio, requires pumping of oxygenated blood by the heart to deliver oxygen to working muscles. It slows the heart’s aging process; it reduces the rate at which cells are lost both through wear and tear and through the programmed process of cell death.
So the message is pretty clear: the more we exercise the lower our risk of heart attack and premature death. Has your heart pumped hard yet today?
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