ABC Medical Center > Cardiology > Exercise as an ally in cardiovascular health

Exercise as an ally in cardiovascular health

9 August 2022

Key points:

  • There are two types of exercise (aerobic and anaerobic) that, together, provide great benefits.
  • It is recommended to do between 150 and 450 minutes of aerobic exercise a week divided into sessions.
  • Anaerobic exercise is recommended between 20 and 30 minutes, two or three sessions per week.
  • You should look for a low heart rate when making an exercise plan for the first time.

Exercising is good for the heart, as long as it’s a habit and not just a one-off, says Dr. Carlos Mérigo Azpiri, interventional cardiologist at ABC Medical Center. It must be considered that exercise is healthy for the heart when it is done regularly, because when it is occasional, or only on weekends, the heart undergoes a greater cardiovascular risk than a benefit.

The heart, being a muscle and like any other, requires regular exercise to stay healthy. This will help lower your heart rate, reduce the stress you are under, and lower your cholesterol, heart rate, and blood pressure levels.

“Exercise can benefit the body in different ways. Asides from contributing to maintaining a healthy body weight, exercise increases mobility, protects against bone loss, reduces stress levels, and increases self-esteem.” 1

What exercises are good for the heart?

There are two types of exercises: aerobic and anaerobic. Aerobic exercise focuses on walking, climbing stairs, biking, or using the elliptical machine; while anaerobic exercise consists of weights, interval training, or high intensity.

Although one type of exercise is not better than the other, it is important to know how to combine both to have a greater benefit, since each one has particular characteristics.

What is the correct time to exercise?

The recommended time for aerobic exercise is between 150 and 450 minutes a week, divided into sessions, and avoid doing it all in a single session since this increases cardiovascular risk. Anaerobic exercise is recommended between 20 and 30 minutes, two or three sessions per week.

An example of how to divide exercise time correctly is:

“Choose a period of 150 minutes a week, on Monday, Wednesday and Friday perform 30 minutes of aerobic exercise, while on Tuesday and Thursday perform between 20 to 30 minutes of anaerobic exercise, this will be very healthy for your heart”.

The best, says Dr. Mérigo, when starting with an exercise plan, is to perform them with a low heart rate and gradually increase it. The way to calculate this frequency is to calculate 220 minus your age and take 60 or 70% of the said amount, that number will be the correct heart rate to be able to have an initial and healthy cardiovascular exercise.

A balanced diet supports exercise. Currently, no new, old, or fad diet benefits the heart, beyond consuming fruits, vegetables, a diet rich in protein, and low in fat and salt.

Together, a balanced diet and exercising five days a week are a great benefit to reduce cardiovascular risk.

At ABC Medical Center’s Cardiovascular Center, we can provide you with specialized care. Contact us!

Dr. Carlos Mérigo Azpiri – interventional cardiologist
1 https://www.texasheart.org/heart-health/heart-information-center/topics/ejercicio/#:~:text=El%20ejercicio%20cardiovascular%20tambi%C3%A9n%20se,el%20ciclismo%20son%20actividades%20aer%C3%B3bicas.

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    Dr. Carlos Alberto Mérigo Azpiri

    Dr. Carlos Alberto Mérigo Azpiri

    Clinical Cardiology

    Formed as Médico Cirujano at the Universidad Panamericana. Specialized on Clinical Cardiology at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México and has a subspecialty in Interventionist Cardiology por la Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México.

    Medical License: 4260571

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