While heart health is linked to healthy eating, exercise also plays an important role in the overall health of one of your most vital organs. Your heart pumps oxygenated blood from your lungs to all parts of the body and receives the deoxygenated blood back from the body and sends it back to the lungs.
Exercise helps to strengthen your heart muscle, making it more efficient at its job. Exercise also helps to lower blood pressure, reduce weight and cholesterol and helps to lower your risk of type 2 diabetes. All these are beneficial at reducing heart disease.
Living a life in which exercise is an important element will help improve the health of your heart. The easiest way to achieve this is to set manageable goals and aim to achieve them.
SMART Goal Setting Technique
Use the SMART Goal Setting Technique to help your measure your fitness goals and build up the strength and health of your heart.
Specific: Set specific goals so that you have a clean plan on what you want to do. For example: walk 20 minutes five mornings per week or increase your daily step count by 2,000 steps.
Measurable: Keep a record of your progress. Use a calendar or an app on your cell phone so you can see how well you are doing. Apps allow you to see your process in various measurable units. You can see the number of kilometres you walk every week and how often you reach your goals on various days.
Attainable: Set goals that you can achieve. If you haven’t exercised before, you may need to start off slowly. If you are new to exercise aim for five minutes per day, building up by five minutes per week until you research 30 minutes per day.
Realistic: Set realist goals. This will help you focus on what you want to achieve and what is possible for you to achieve. Exercising to improve your fitness in preparation for a certain achievement (such as running a 10km race) is a realistic goal and a great way to help you stay on track.
Time-orientated: As with the above-mentioned goal you could also put a time-based date on your goal, such as the date of the 10km race. You can choose according to what it is you enjoy in terms of exercise.
It’s always a good idea to check with your healthcare practitioner before starting an exercise programme.