Dr. Zachary Solomon, MD is a cardiac surgeon who commonly suggests patients start to incorporate more exercise into their routines. While it may seem counterintuitive, regular exercise reduces how hard the heart has to work. What happens over time is that the muscles improve in their ability to use oxygen found in the blood that is pumped to them. When the muscles start to take in oxygen more efficiently, the heart no longer needs to pump as much blood. As this happens, our blood pressure goes down and our overall heart health increases.
Dr. Zachary Solomon, MD suggests that everyone works toward a resting heart rate between 60 and 100 beats per minute. Most in the cardiac health field agree that the lower the resting heart rate, the better it is for the person. Of course, exercise does more than lower a person’s resting heart rate. It also lowers the amount of stress hormones in the body. This is essential because stress hormones can harm the heart and lead to excess body fat. Exercise also works to manage a person’s weight and boost their mood.
For those serious about their heart health, Dr. Zachary Solomon does suggest some forms of exercise over others. For instance, walking at a brisk speed is outstanding for heart health. One of the best things about walking is that it is convenient, it’s free, it’s low impact and it has been proven by countless studies to lower the risk of heart disease. One of the best things to do is walk immediately after a meal. Something as simple as a five-minute walk can help lower stress hormones, blood sugar, and blood pressure. Whether a person prefers walking on a treadmill or outside is completely up to them. Dr. Zachary Solomon understands that everyone is at a different stage of their health journey. If a brisk walk for 20 minutes is too much to start, then walk for 5 minutes and work up to the 20 minutes and beyond. The key is consistency and a desire to progress.
Just as people are surprised to learn that low-impact walking can help with heart health, people are commonly surprised to learn about the benefits of yoga. While most yoga classes won’t necessarily get the heart pumping fast, it will lower a person’s heart rate, their blood pressure, blood sugar, and even cholesterol levels. One of the many great benefits of yoga is that it helps people enjoy a higher quality of sleep. One of the best things a person can do for their overall well-being is stick to a routine sleep schedule and get the quality sleep that comes from eating a clean diet and exercising regularly.
Of course, those who are able should absolutely consider high-intensity interval training, commonly referred to as HIT. HIT training is designed to help muscles grow and boost overall heart health. The way these routines work is to do 30 seconds of an intense movement like jumping rope or jumping jacks followed by a recovery move like jogging in place or stretching. This pattern is then repeated again and again. Dr. Zachary Solomon, MD notes that interval training can be difficult. It’s best to mix it into a weekly exercise routine once or twice a week and fill the other days with walking, yoga, or traditional weight training.
Lifting weights is great for men and women. There have been countless studies that link routine weight lifting with a lower risk of heart attack and stroke. If someone is looking to incorporate weight training a few times a week, Dr. Zachary Solomon recommends sticking to a full-body routine. This routine will commonly include an assisted squat, chest presses, bicep curls, tricep extensions, dumbbell rows, and shoulder presses. Once a person grows comfortable with these standard exercises, they can start to look to add different variations of these exercises into their workouts.