What Happens to Your Heart When You Exercise?

The cardiovascular system undergoes certain changes and adaptations during the physical exercise routine. Exercise also aids in heart health in the long term. However, if you have heart problems, consult your physician first before starting to exercise. 

What Happens to Your Heart When You Exercise?

Normally, the heart rate will increase. During physical exercise, more oxygen is needed for energy production. Since oxygen is transported through the bloodstream, the heart needs to pump more blood to supply the working muscles with oxygen. 

The intensity of physical activity determines how much the heart rate will increase. To improve your cardiovascular fitness, the heart rate needs to be substantially higher than the rate while your heart is at rest. An improved cardiovascular fitness will improve your heart rate at rest and during exercise recovery.

Have you ever wondered what happens to your heart when you exercise and how fast it will really beat? According to the American Heart Association, the average heart rate is between 60 to 100 beats per minute. However, physically active people often have a lower heart rate than 60 while at rest. While working out, the target heart rate should be no more than 50 to 85% of your maximum heart beat. Click here to find your maximum heart beat based on the age and exercise intensity.

During exercise or after exercise, you can monitor your heart rate manually or by using a heart monitor. Measure your pulse for 10 seconds and multiply this number by 6.

How Does Exercise Help Heart Health in the Long Term?

Regular exercise promotes heart health in the following ways.

  • Just as it strengthens other muscles, exercise strengthens the heart muscles as well. This will help it pump the blood through the body and keep the blood pressure under control.
  • What happens to your heart when you exercise regularly? Physical activity also increases the blood flow in the small blood vessels around the heart. More branches and connections will be created between these small coronary arteries, preventing coronary artery disease and heart attacks.
  • Regular physical activity also increases the levels of HDL cholesterol and decreases the levels of LDL cholesterol, preventing the risk of heart attacks.
  • Exercise also plays an important role in maintaining a good body weight which is essential for heart health.

What Exercises Are Needed for Heart Health?

Your exercise plan should consist of:

1. Aerobic Exercise

Aerobic exercise is often known as cardio. During cardio, the heart rate will start to increase and breathing will become faster, but you will still be able to talk to someone without a problem. You can choose biking, jogging, running, swimming, hiking, etc. If you have any health problems, choose a low-impact physical activity and don’t overdo it.

2. Strength Exercise 

Strength training is recommended 2 to 3 times a week so that your muscles will have enough time to recover. Choose from yoga, resistance bands, or weight training, whichever you prefer.

How to Stick with an Exercise Plan

Staying interested and motivated is very important while exercising. After knowing what happens to your heart when you exercise and what exercise to do for heart health, learn the ways of how to exercise regularly:

  • In your daily schedule, save a specific amount of time for exercise. 
  • Work out with your partner or friend as it will help you keep motivated.
  • While running, jogging or cycling, use a heart rate monitor or a speedometer; set up a goal and reach it.
  • Keep a chart and write down your records on a spreadsheet.
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