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7 Awesome Ways to Exercise Your Heart

Updated on August 25, 2013

While you know that regular physical exercise can strengthen your heart and cardiovascular system (and is good for your overall wellbeing), the thought of strenuous workouts isn’t the most exciting for all of us. If you’re wondering how you can add some health benefits to your heart when you’re not hitting the gym, or if you’re just looking for a good excuse to make one of your habits sound awesome, here are 7 ways to ‘exercise’ your heart that you’re definitely going to like:

1. Flex your jaws with some cheese

A study in the UK has revealed that cheese has heart-protective properties that have previously gone unnoticed. The study took a closer look at the eating habits of the French (who, although they’re diets are high in saturated fats, have the third-lowest rate of cardiovascular mortality in the world) and have come up with some startling results about one of the most indulgent foods – cheese. According to the researchers who conducted extensive analysis on the relationship between cheese and those who ate more of it, cheese-eaters appeared to have healthier hearts than others.

What the study found was that cheese had heart-protective properties that had useful effects on inflammation, blood pressure, cholesterol and bacteria, and not forgetting its added benefits of nutrients such as protein, calcium and vitamins A, D, B-6 and B-9.

The types of cheeses that were discovered to be more heart-healthy are:

Blue-veined cheeses (Roquefort; Danish Blue; Gorgonzola; mature Stilton)

White fungi-fermented cheeses (Camembert; mature Brie)

Bacteria-fermented cheeses (mature Cheddar; mature Emmental; Ossau-Iraty)

So if you’ve been reluctantly avoiding cheese, here’s the perfect excuse to slowly add it back into your diet. Of course, practice this exercise in moderation. Instead of grabbing a huge plate of mac n’ cheese, add bits of cheese to your already healthy diet. Try adding slices of cheese onto your fruit or a few pieces of it into your salad.

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2. Move your body - Take a vacation

Unless you’re already soaking up the sun at some holiday resort at this very moment (good for you if you are!), one of the best ways to boost your heart’s health is to take some time out.

We already know that travelling is good for the soul, but did you know it was also good for the heart?

According to a New York Times article, a study published in 1992 revealed that those who travelled on vacation are less likely to feel depressed, tired, tense or unsatisfied in their marriage (and their lives in general). Studies also revealed that travelers have less chance of a heart attack than those who don’t venture out into the world.

You don’t have to have to go to the most luxurious islands for a getaway. Take a trip to see family over the holidays, go on a budgeted European trip with friends, get a spa treatment in another city or have a picnic in the countryside. Plan inexpensive trips every so often, save up and be on your way to heartier and healthier living.

The Key to a Healthy Heart is Education

Know what you can and can't have, Study your heart and body in order to maximize its potential.

  • Study the effects of Cheese on your Heart, but also know your limits and what effects the abuse of certain foods can have on both your heart and body.
  • Travel and experience new places and things, take your mind away from the stresses of home and surroundings, while treating yourself to a vacation and time to focus on what is best for you and your health.
  • Don't be afraid of stepping out of your comfort zone with a glass of Red Wine or a pint of Beer, again however, know your limits and how this aids in the health of your heart in order to capitalize on this knowledge.
  • Experience life in the fullest, spend time with the people you care for, spend time loving your pets, ensure you do what makes you laugh and sing.

3. Chug a pint or lift a glass of red wine

We’ve heard about the negative effects of alcohol on the body, but studies have revealed that drinking 2/3 of a pint of beer can improve the blood flow to your heart.

When had in moderation, beer can actually benefit the flexibility of the arteries around the heart. Beer is also fat-free, cholesterol-free and contains antioxidants.

So every now and then you can feel good about heading off to the bar, hearing one good drunk story and having one good, hearty lager.

Wine lovers have always enjoyed the good news of sipping on a glass every now and then because many researchers have praised the antioxidants found in red wine which aid in keeping the heart healthy and the face youthful.

The antioxidant found in red wine is called Resveratrol, and it is said to help prevent blood clots, damage to blood vessels and reduce ‘bad’ cholesterol. The antioxidant might also be helpful in protecting you from obesity and diabetes, both of which are risk factors for heart disease. So every now and then, you can do some guilt-free wine bottle opening and wine tasting exercise.

Increase the Longevity of your Heart

Food
Exercise
Fun
Gold Kiwi as the champion fruit of the heart-healthy diet.
Brisk Walking
Laughter
Purple Potatoes.
Cycling
Laughing while waving your arms produces similar effects to exercising
Dark chocolate.
Swimming
Dance classes are a great way to boost your cardiovascular system

This Video will ensure you go out and pet a Dog

4. Take a jog to a dog pound

Unsurprisingly, puppies are good for your heart. Apart from them being loyal and loving, studies have found that just the mere action of petting a puppy can decrease your blood pressure. So if you’re feeling particularly stressed today, put on your running shoes, head down to the dog pound or the pet shop and bond with one of these cute little fellas.

5. Have some sleep on the side

Sleeping on your side is the best posture for health. When you sleep on your side with your knees slightly bent, back slightly curved and arms folded, your posture compliments the natural curvature of your spine. If you put a pillow between your knees you reduce stress on your hips. Sleeping on your left side is said to reduce high blood pressure and also give you relief from heartburn.

Sleep on your right side if you have had a heart attack or suffer from chronic heart failure.

Now you can feel good about purchasing that cuddle (or boyfriend/girlfriend) pillow. So if anybody asks, you can officially tell them it’s for health reasons.

6. Start a band

Studies have shown that singing in a choir can have the same effect as practicing yoga. Researchers have claimed that when a group of people sing together their heartbeats synchronize and their pulses increase and decrease in unison. Songs with longer phrases are also said to have the same effect as breathing exercises in yoga. Because singing is an aerobic activity, more oxygen is released into the blood stream for better circulation.

Singing is also said to release endorphins; making you feel all warm and fuzzy inside (but you probably already figured this out in the shower).

Now would be a good time to gather your friends and practice that ‘shoo wop’ performance you’ve been longing to give.

7. Flex your funny bone

More than just keeping your figurative heart young, learning to be less serious will result in a good laugh, which will result in a good heart.

It is said that the blood flow to your heart can increase for 45 minutes just by laughing. Laughter may also reduce the risks of a heart attack. A study done in the year 2000 by University of Maryland Medical Centre, Baltimore, found that those with heart disease were 40% less likely to laugh at situations.

So watch funny videos (like the one below), attend a laughing class, read jokes or just do something silly with someone you can laugh at anything with. You’ll be doing exercises with all the gain and none of the pain (unless you count that pain you get in your stomach for laughing too hard).

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