February is American Heart Month. A great time to evaluate and make positive changes towards developing a healthier lifestyle and a healthy heart. Since heart disease is the number one cause of death for both men and women, having a month dedicated to advocating for, and encouraging heart health is pertinent.

Some of the things which we may consider small, but are big when it comes to having a healthy heart are: getting regular check-ups, eating healthy, not smoking, controlling blood pressure, and exercise.

The thing we are going to focus on today is cardio exercise.

Exercise and Heart Health

Regular exercise helps prevent obesity, high blood pressure, and increased cholesterol levels, all of which contribute to heart disease.

For those who already have heart disease, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has findings that show exercise can lower their risk of: dying from this disease, having a non-fatal heart attack, and the necessity of procedures such as bypass surgery and angioplasty.

What is Cardio Exercise and Why is it Important?

Any type of exercise that is designed to increase your heart rate can be categorized as cardio exercise. This type of workout is important because the heart is a muscle, and like other muscles, working it out makes it stronger. A stronger heart reduces the chances of getting heart disease.

To be most effective, The American College of Sports Medicine recommends either 30 minutes of moderate cardio five times a week or 20 minutes of intense cardio three times a week.

Cardio Exercise and Accessories

Moderate intensity cardio pushes your heart to 50-65 percent of its maximum rate. Some common moderate intensity workouts include: power walking, treadmill usage, and bicycling. More intense cardio workouts put your heart at 65-80 percent of its maximum rate.

Intense cardio workouts examples include jogging/running, swimming, and aerobics.

The right accessories can add fun and variety to your cardio workout. If you are a swimmer who also enjoys the challenge of the treadmill, you can combine the two with a pool treadmill.

Pool treadmills provide a high intensity cardio workout that is safe for all ages and fitness levels and can be used in both in-ground and above-ground pools. Additionally, they can be used outside of the water as well.

Pool ellipticals offer another source of fun and functional workouts for water lovers. These exercise machines are great for those who need a lower impact workout. They are lightweight, rust resistant, and designed to be used in 3-5 feet of water.

Trampolines are not just for kids. Jumping on the trampoline is not only fun, but it offers an effective cardio workout as well. A mini trampoline is compact and lightweight, making it easy to use both indoors and outdoors.

Moderate or high intensity, power walking, running, swimming, or using machines, it's your choice. Pick one. A stronger heart equals a healthier heart!

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