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Heart Health: Exercising

Keeping your heart healthy means having a good exercise routine.  Exercise can be divided into three basic types:

  1. Stretching: slow lengthening of the muscles. Stretching the arms and legs before and after exercising helps prepare the muscles for activity and helps prevent injury and muscle strain. Regular stretching also increases your range of motion and flexibility.
  2. Cardiovascular or aerobic:  Steady physical activity using large muscle groups.  This type of exercise strengthens the heart and lungs and improves the body’s ability to use oxygen.

    Aerobic exercise has the most benefits for your heart.  Over time, aerobic exercise can help decrease your heart rate and blood pressure and improve your breathing (since your heart won’t have to work as hard during exercise).

    Aerobic exercises includes walking, jogging, jumping rope, bicycling (stationary or outdoor), cross-country skiing, skating, rowing and low-impact aerobics or water aerobics.

  3. Strengthening:  Repeated muscle contractions (tightening) until the muscle becomes tired.
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