How Interval Exercise Strengthens Your Heart

how interval exercise strengthens your heart

5 Secrets That Can Stop Heart Attack

How interval exercise strengthens your heart explains why interval exercise offers the best for your heart and weight control. Interval exercise alternates bursts of more intense activity, like jogging, with periods of moderate activity or even rest. Adding spurts of vigorous activity burns more calories and benefits your heart and arteries.

Presently, interval exercise is entering the realm of cardiac rehabilitation than longer stretches of continuous activity. Done formally or informally, interval exercise can strengthen healthy hearts and assist in healing damaged ones. Similarly, interval exercise is a plus for you if you’re watching your weight or battling diabetes.

How Interval Exercise Benefits People With Heart Failure

It’s not unusual for people to break tough physical tasks with short periods of rest. This allows stressed muscles time to recover enabling them to work harder and longer. The same tactic holds true for conditioning the heart. For example, people with severe heart failure take short rest when climbing the stairs. Therefore, an exercise plan that alternates bursts of intense activity with periods of rest or gentler activity seems better for people with various forms of heart disease.  

And according to research, this type of interval exercise can counter some of the devastating consequences of post–heart attack or heart failure. As well as reverse harmful changes in the heart’s size and shape. However, it’s important to note that interval exercise doesn’t cure heart failure. But it’s a possibility for people with chronic conditions.

Why Interval Exercise Is Special

how interval exercise strengthens your heart

What makes interval exercise special? First, it allows you to break a single stretch of high-intensity exercise into shorter bursts. For instance, you can run 10 minutes at full speed by doing it in ten 1-minute intervals and resting in between. Resting breaks give your body time to remove waste products that can make muscles sluggish, tired, or painful. And even the 1-minute exercise turns on genes that promote the growth of new blood vessels, making blood vessels more flexible. Equally, intensifies the body’s defenses against harmful antioxidants, and eases low-level inflammation.

Working the heart and other muscles hard for brief spurts trains them to use oxygen more efficiently. Likewise conditions them to work through brief periods when the demand for oxygen temporarily outstrips the supply and helps your body create new muscle fibers. In the long term, you’re more active and protected against forces that erode cardiovascular health. Such as the entry of cholesterol into artery walls, the stiffening of arteries, or the accumulation of fat.

Are You Walking or Jogging?

how interval exercise strengthens your heart

How interval exercise strengthens your heart is most easily done on a treadmill, where you can fiddle with the speed of the machine. Then again you can do it whether you are walking, jogging, in a pool, or on a bike ride or cross-country ski outing.

As regards walking, say you usually walk for 30 minutes at a stretch. To add intervals, walk for five minutes to warm up. Then walk as fast as you can, or jog, for one minute. Go back to your usual pace, or even a bit slower, for three minutes. Repeat the fast walking and slower walking cycle five more times. Although the exercise session lasted 30 minutes, you burned more calories than you would have by walking continuously at the same speed. Of course, that is just a start. If you’re in fairly good shape, you can spend more time walking faster or jogging and less time walking or resting.

And if you’re a jogger, burst out into a sprint now and then. Or if you swim, alternate fast and slow laps. If you bicycle, sprinkle your ride with a few fast finishes.

Resistance Exercise Is Good Too

interval exercise strengthens your heart

To get the most out of exercise, put a little resistance in it by lifting weights, doing push-ups, or engaging in other muscle-building exercises. An update on resistance training, also called strength training, is a perfect mate for aerobic exercise for healthy folks and those with heart disease. In addition to strengthening the heart, resistance training builds bone, helps prevent falls, and makes it easier to do everyday tasks like getting dressed and carrying groceries. Then again in whatever you do, introduce rest time in between.

Plan What Works For You

how interval exercise strengthens your heart

There is no single formula for how long and how hard to exercise or how long and how often to rest. You can set the intervals based on how you feel on a particular day. The main rules that apply are:

  • The high-intensity bursts should last long enough and be energetic enough that you are out of breath. If you monitor your heart rate, it should be more than 80% of your maximum heart rate.
  • Rest periods should be long enough that you are ready to go again. But not so long that your heart slows to its resting rate.
  • Warm up before exercising and cool down afterward.
  • Don’t do interval exercise in the next few days. Let your muscles recuperate in between. Two or three times a week is ideal.

Bottom Line

While exercise adds health benefits beyond what pills alone can achieve, what works for healthy people, may not be best for those affected by heart failure. For example, walking is often perceived as the best cardiovascular exercise. Anyone can do it. It doesn’t need any special equipment. It’s easy on your knees and other joints. It strengthens the heart and lungs and improves the function of blood vessels. That said, interval exercise is not for everyone. Revving the heart rate way up could provoke cardiac arrest or other disasters in people at risk for them. So if you have heart disease, high blood pressure, or other risk factors, check with your doctor before you start interval exercise.

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