Can you name the most important muscle in your body? Nope, it’s not your abs, hamstrings or triceps. It’s your heart! The human heart is an amazing muscle, capable of pumping about 5 quarts of blood throughout the body every minute—that’s approximately 2,000 gallons of blood each day! In fact, the average heart beats about 100,000 times each day, too, which is why it’s so important to have a strong and healthy heart.
And just like you can exercise to build strength in your glutes and your biceps, you can—and should—also train your heart to become stronger, healthier and more efficient at doing its job. The right workout plan is like strength-training for your heart, which helps it pump more blood with less effort.
The Exercise-for-Heart-Health Facts
According to the American Heart Association (AHA) nearly 70 percent of Americans don’t get enough exercise, yet inactivity is a major risk factor for developing coronary artery disease (CAD). CAD is caused by deposits of fatty substances, cholesterol, calcium and other substances in the inner lining of the arteries that supply blood to the heart muscle. This build-up makes the arteries narrowed or blocked, and when oxygen-rich blood can’t reach the heart, the result is chest pain or a heart attack. Over time, CAD can weaken the heart muscle and lead to heart failure.
While CAD is the most common type of heart disease and the leading cause of death in the United States for both men and women, the good news is that lifestyle changes—like exercise!—can help prevent or treat CAD in most people.
Keep reading for how to exercise for heart health… —Jenn