With physical movement being one of the best ways to improve cardiovascular fitness, the question of "Which type of workout routine is best?" often comes up. Especially during the heart health journey. The answer to which is simple, and hopefully exciting: All forms of physical activity are equally beneficial for your heart, so long as you get your heart pumping hard enough.
The Key is Finding Movement You Enjoy
Those who move their bodies 150 minutes per week are 20% less likely to develop heart disease compared to those who don’t.1 That's only 30 minutes a day, five days a week. And that holds true even if you don't enjoy conventional workouts.
Because working out can be challenging, it's important to find a form of movement that you genuinely find pleasure in. (That's not to say it won't still challenge you). But it's pretty understandable that the more you like your workout routine, the more likely you are to practice it regularly. This could look like skipping, dancing, or flat out wiggling. It all strengthens your heart, just as much as running, cycling or swimming. The key is staying in your ideal heart rate zone.
Keeping Your Heart in the Zone
A Bit About the Heart
Before we dive into the world of heart rate zones, let's go over some basic review: The heart is a muscular double pump that sends blood around the body, delivering oxygen and vital nutrients to every tissue. The two-part pumping phase of the heart counts as one heartbeat, and the number of heartbeats in one minute is our heart rate (HR).
For healthy adults at rest, a normal HR is usually between 60 and 100 beats per minute (BPM). Although this range is considered normal, your personal normal range will be specific to your body and will vary based on your level of fitness. Your personal heart rate zones can then be discovered using your baseline heart rate with specific equations.
Cardiogram Calculates Heart Rate Zones For You
Cardiogram simplifies things by calculating those numbers for you - find out what your personal workout zones are within the app and track the intensity of your workouts. After each movement practice, check back in on your app to see just how long you spent in each of your target heart rate zones. As a general rule of thumb, the American Heart Association recommends:
- At least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity (50–70% of max heart rate) at least 5 days per week for a total of 150 minutes
- At least 25 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity (70–85% of max heart rate) at least 3 days per week for a total of 75 minutes.
Aiming to then stay within those ranges will help you to build a healthier heart. Note that you'll typically want to start out predominately in the moderate zone. Especially if you haven't engaged in regular exercise for a while. As you become more fit, you can begin pushing yourself into the vigorous zone. And eventually, you can transition to using a multi-zone approach.
By aiming to reach and maintain moderate to high intensity ranges, you prevent cardiovascular disease and strokes, lower resting heart rate and improve your overall heart health. And by moving in ways you enjoy, you can have a smile to go along with that sweat! And now with Cardiogram as your playmate.