Love Your Heart: Exercises that Offer Heart and Brain Benefits
February is American Heart Month, and while you should be taking care of your heart all year long, this is the perfect time to pay a little more attention to your ticker. One of the best things you can do for your heart is to break a sweat.
The good news – exercise can benefit more than just your heart. Multiple studies show that certain types of exercise improve brain health, too. Love your heart, and your brain, by giving one of the following activities a try during American Heart Month.
Walking, Jogging, or Running
Cardiovascular exercise, which includes any type of activity that gets your heart rate up, includes exercises like walking, jogging, running, and swimming. Regular cardio helps decrease your resting heart rate and your blood pressure, which means your heart doesn’t need to work as hard.
In general, researchers have found that any exercise that’s good for the heart is good for the brain. Cardio exercises like walking, jogging, and running also increase oxygen and blood flow to the brain, improving brain function.
Exercises that involve cardio along with increased mental demands are excellent for both your heart and brain. Ballroom dancing won’t just get your heart rate up, it requires integrating different parts of your brain such as strategy, rhythm, and coordination. This type of exercise may even help boost cognition.
If you enjoy working out at the gym on your own, go with circuit workouts. These workouts quickly spike your heart rate, which helps you improve heart health. However, they also constantly redirect your attention, which gives your brain a workout, too.
No matter what type of exercise you choose, remember that any kind of exercise can offer heart and brain benefits. The most important thing – establish exercise as a routine. After all, exercise is one of the best things you can do for your entire body.