Skip to main content

Exercise and Heart Health

Best Exercises for Heart Health

Regular exercise is important for all adults to keep their muscles strong and flexible and is key for a healthy heart. Physical activity and exercise not only help to prevent your risk of heart attack and heart disease but it can also help you improve and manage already developed heart conditions.

Exercise and regular physical activity have several heart health benefits, including:

  • Increased heart muscle strength;
  • Improved lung function;
  • Lower blood pressure;
  • Lower high cholesterol;
  • Lower high blood sugar;
  • Lower high triglycerides;
  • Decreased levels of C-reactive protein, an inflammatory protein elevated in chronic conditions; and
  • Reduced risk of heart attack and heart disease.

To improve your heart health and reduce your risk of heart disease, it is important to incorporate aerobic exercise, strength training and stretching into your workout routine. Aerobic exercise is any activity that makes your heart beat faster and increases your breathing rate more than at rest, which pumps oxygenated blood to your working muscles.

Aerobic exercise includes:

  • Walking;
  • Running;
  • Hiking;
  • Swimming;
  • Dancing;
  • Bicycling;
  • Jumping jacks; and
  • Stair climbing.

Strength training is exercise tailored to specifically increase muscle strength through resistance training. Resistance can be in the form of weights, resistance bands or through your own body weight. Stretching is a form of exercise that increases the flexibility of your muscles and ability to move your joints through their full range of motion with movement.

At least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity physical activity per week is recommended to maintain good heart health and lower your risk of heart disease.

Always make sure to consult with your healthcare provider before beginning or increasing any exercise program to make sure that your heart, lungs and blood vessels are healthy enough to operate properly.

To access the full article on exercise and heart health, click here.

In partnership with the YMCA, Hally Health focuses on a variety of topics aimed at people of any age or fitness level who want to stay healthy and active. Try this Mini Tabata workout that’s sure to get your heart pumping. To view all our YMCA partnership fitness videos throughout the month, please visit or