Are you unfit? Perhaps you struggle taking the stairs, or find yourself gasping for breath after a short run for the bus. Maybe getting around in general and keeping up with basic tasks like cleaning and gardening wears you out. If you’re in otherwise good health, then your fitness levels are to blame. Improving your cardiovascular strength would not only make you stronger but you’d also have more energy and would shed excess pounds in the process. But what exactly can you do to make your heart and lungs perform at their best?
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One of the single best things you can do to improve your cardiovascular health, and therefore your fitness levels is to exercise. If you’ve been inactive for a long time, however, speak to your GP before starting a new plan. Regardless of how unfit you are, consistent exercise will pay off- start small and build your way up. Using an exercise bike is a good way to build up a foundation level of fitness, it’s something that most people can do. Start with a low resistance and aim to do twenty minutes at a time. Keep at it until you can comfortably do an hour, and then increase the resistance. By this time you will be feeling much fitter and should be able to use just about any piece of equipment at a regular gym.
Reach a Healthy BMI
Exercising will help you to burn excess calories and make it much easier to reach your weight loss goals. However, you absolutely have to address your diet too. You will need to consume fewer calories to create a deficit which over time will lead to weight loss- it’s difficult to create this deficit with exercise alone unless you’re doing hours every day. Losing weight is good for your cardiovascular system as your heart doesn’t have to work as hard, and less body mass will make it easier for you to move around so you’ll feel less breathless and tired. Regular exercise and a healthy diet will put you on track to a healthy BMI, reducing salt and saturated fat are also essential for a healthy heart. Processed, heart-clogging foods eaten in excess over time can literally shave years off your life. You increase your chances of having a heart attack enormously, air medical transport might get you to the hospital in record time but there are no guarantees of survival. Preventative measures to keep your heart and lungs healthy are well within your control.
Smoking is bad for you- that’s not new information. As well as damaging just about every cell in the body, it can weaken bones and reduce immunity, as well as cause numerous kinds of cancer. Smoking affects your cardiovascular health as it reduces the amount of oxygen that the tissues in your body receive, and on top of this it damages blood vessels too. Smokers will always have reduced lung function compared with non-smokers, and so it’s just another reason to kick the habit. Switching to vaping first can be helpful for some people, otherwise, use the stop-smoking over the counter products that are available. You could speak to your doctor for advice too, they will be thrilled to hear you have quit.
This post is a contributed post.