What Are The Fitness Experts Say About Their Best Heart-Health Tips?

We will focus on one of our most essential organs: the heart, during this month of love for the people in our lives. When working out, your heart is at the center of everything, fuelling your most treasured moments, feeling calm, and more. Consequently, we enlisted the help of the experts—leaders from our Fitness Team—to learn how to maintain optimal heart health.

What Is Your Heart Rate At Rest?

To begin, we’d like to establish a baseline for heart health. Getting to know your resting heart rate is one approach to see how well your heart performs.

While it is not the only indicator of heart health, a lower heart rate indicates that your heart is in good working condition.

The normal person’s resting heart rate is between 60 and 100 beats per minute, while top athletes typically have a 40 bpm or lower resting heart rate.

We spoke with Ryan Owen, our Fitness Manager in Littleton, Colorado, on the significance of a resting heart rate and how to decrease it if it’s too high.

“The heart is the body’s most important muscle, and cardiovascular activity is essential for decreasing your resting heart rate.” Cardiovascular activity strengthens your heart in the same way that curls or squats strengthen your biceps and glutes.

When attempting to lower your resting heart rate, it is advisable to engage in various types of cardiovascular activity. HIIT – endurance training, such as long-distance running, swimming, or biking, allows your heart to handle any effort throughout the day, resulting in a lower resting heart rate.”

HIIT (High-Intensity Interval Training) Is Good For Your Heart

Jessica Ochoa, Fitness Manager at Grant & Oracle Tucson, agrees, stating that her favorite cardio activity for heart muscle health is HIIT. HIIT exercises consist of 1-4 minutes of high-intensity exercise followed by 1-4 minutes of recovery. You may improve your cardiovascular strength by training your body to work hard and recover.

Other Heart-Strengthening Activities

While some of us may be interested in HIIT, others may find it intimidating—and that’s fine. Your favorite workout will almost certainly make your heart stronger.

We asked Sam Murtaugh, the Fitness Manager at our Highlands Ranch, Colorado branch, what heart-healthy workout everyone should do, and his suggestion was f-u-n: “To dance every day!” Dancing will benefit your physical heart health, but it will undoubtedly make you smile.

It also brings back some of my fondest memories! Grab a partner and dance the night away!”

This advice is fantastic since it demonstrates how enjoyable staying healthy can be. Do you want to go for a dance? Make it happen! Do you enjoy swimming?

Make it a habit! Figure it out! There are many possibilities for us to have a pleasant and well-rounded workout that motivates us to sweat.

Which Is Better: Cardio or Strength Training?

We asked Kevin Camara, MS, CSCS, Regional Fitness Manager of our California, Arizona, and New Mexico sites, for his thoughts on the matter for this response:

“Strength training will be more effective than cardio in improving heart health.” Circuit training is a type of strength training with many of the same advantages as cardio.

Your heart and respiratory rate will rise when you do exercises that target different body regions with short rest intervals, like cardio. The rise in heart and respiratory rates will provide cardiac advantages while simultaneously providing strength training benefits.

Circuit training isn’t ideal for strength training because the weight load has to be reduced due to tiredness. The importance of both aerobic and weight training cannot be overstated. Both have a role to play in keeping your heart healthy.

For people who don’t have much time to exercise, circuit training can be a fantastic way to get strength and aerobic advantages.

The most crucial aspect in developing an effective schedule should be what is long-term sustainable. If you only have a month or two, creating hours long or uncomfortable regimen will not be effective.

Finding 20 minutes to circuit train every day and using every chance to be active with my family—which may be playing basketball, tag, stroller jogging, or walking—is my ideal regimen.

I target all significant muscle groups by including a squat variation, upper body pull, deadlift variation, and upper body push in my circuit of exercises. Here’s an example.

  • Squat Split Each Bent Over Row should be done 6-10 times. Reps: 6–10
  • RDL Single-Leg Reps: 6–10
  • Push-ups with a Band *15-30 seconds rest between each exercise. 6-10 reps

The essential thing is to choose something you enjoy doing because that will make sticking to your routine over time much more manageable.”

What about foods that are good for your heart?

As we all know, every healthy regimen must begin and end with eating. Instead of constraining yourself, our Director of Team Training, Robin Cortez, MS, offers an alternative suggestion.

When we asked her what one food she would remove from everyone’s diet if she had a magic wand, she gave us a striking response:

“Rather than using that magic wand to generate a universal knowledge, I’d use it to develop a more general understanding that is restricting leads to overcompensation and backfires.” The restriction is harmful to our health in various ways, including the heart. Instead, I’d use that magic wand to encourage individuals to ADD heart-healthy foods to their diet if they’re lacking them right now. Ryan has some wonderful ideas about how that could be done.”

So, what foods should you include on your plate to improve your cardiovascular health?

Ryan Hogan, our Fitness Manager in Rancho Cucamonga, California, explains:

“Green, leafy veggies are some of the best nutrients for improving heart health. Vitamin K, abundant in these veggies, protects arteries and aids in good blood clotting. Adding a small salad to one of your daily meals is a terrific way to incorporate them into any balanced diet. To offer yourself a light, heart-healthy supplement to your favorite dishes, add a little olive oil, which is strong in monounsaturated fats and has been shown to lessen the risk of heart disease.”

What’s the bottom line?

Make a routine around the things you enjoy, and work toward a healthy heart by moving your body and eating heart-friendly foods. It’s not about exercising three hours a day, seven days a week, and denying yourself all your favorite foods. It’s all about figuring out what you enjoy doing and sticking to it!

“What Does Heart Health Mean to Our Group?”

We asked these professionals to explain what heart health means to them and how they care for their hearts daily for our final question. We’ll leave you with the following responses:

Jessica Ochoa is a fitness manager that works in Grant and Oracle, Arizona.

Deciding to help me avoid heart disease is what heart health entails—the essential muscle in my heart. I tailor my heart workouts to incorporate at least 150 minutes of steady cardio or 75 minutes of strenuous cardio every week, just like I do with my other muscles.

I try to keep fatty meals to a minimum and incorporate at least one vegetable at every meal in my diet. Gum disease and heart disease have been linked in several research, so don’t forget to dental care.

Kevin Camara (MS, CSCS/ Regional Fitness Manager/CA, AZ, and NM)

To me, heart health entails being able to play with my children for long periods and undertaking physical work or chores around the house.

When I’m playing with my kids, helping a family member relocate, or performing domestic duties, I don’t want to worry about my health. Every day, I make time to be active and exercise because I want to keep my heart healthy and my physical abilities as I become older.

Ryan Owen | Littleton, CO | Fitness Manager

Everything. Now that I retired from football, I prefer to focus on heart health. Improving my heart health ensures that I can live a life free of restrictions.

I take care of my heart by incorporating a range of cardiovascular exercises into my weekly routine. I do at least three HIIT (high-intensity interval training) sessions every week, either independently or as part of our Team Training. I struggle with aerobic exercise; as a result, I have to establish goals for myself by enrolling in 5k or 10k races to provide the extra desire to hit the pavement and log those miles.

Ryan Hogan | Rancho Cucamonga, CA | Fitness Manager

Heart health comes foremost for me. Having a solid and healthy heart makes it easier for me to take on new challenges in other areas. To take care of my heart, I question myself, “Am I treating my body the way it needs to be treated so that I feel wonderful 20, 30, 40 years from now?”

Robin Cortez, MS | Chuze Fitness’ Director of Team Training

Heart health refers to my body’s ability to efficiently pump blood and deliver enough nutrients and oxygen to meet its needs. My heart is at its healthiest when there is a balance between parasympathetic and sympathetic activity. It can’t be either one or the other. I take care of my heart by staying active and listening to my body’s signals when it’s time to slow down and relax.

Highlands Ranch, CO’s Sam Murtaugh is a fitness manager.

To me, heart health entails being able to go on excursions with my family and friends without having to worry about my physical ability. Every day, I am very conscious of what I put into my body. In every decision I make, I put my health first. I always want to feel like I’m getting the most out of my life!

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