If that resolution of hour-long daily workshops is long forgotten, don’t despair! New research shows that you can reduce the risk of heart disease by adapting your workout and spending less, yes we said LESS, time at the gym! Just remember these three keys to heart fitness: Cardio, Strength and Stretch
Interval training (alternating between high and moderate intensity activity) can double or even triple the heart protecting benefits you would gain in a longer moderate cardio session. A short burst of high intensity work makes your heart work harder and pump more blood that strengthens the entire cardiovascular system. Your muscles will utilize carbs better, improving the body’s insulin sensitivity and reducing the risk of type 2 Diabetes (a major precursor to heart disease). And of course, you’ll reduce blood pressure. Schedule 30 minutes of interval training three times per week.
Because strong healthy muscles can reduce the risk of diabetes, strength training should be a regular part of your fitness routine. The old saying “use it or lose it” applies here. Without strength training muscle mass will decrease with age, about 5% per decade after age 35, resulting in muscle loss when it’s needed the most. By building lean muscle mass you’ll routinely burn more calories and lower your blood pressure. Strength train 15 minutes two or three times a week.
The National Institute of Health and Nutrition in Japan found that people over 40 who could easily touch their toes had the most flexible arteries. The thought here is that the more flexible the arteries, the easier the blood flows, keeping blood pressure at a healthy level. Stretching is wonderful way to start and end your day. No sweat, showers or special equipment needed!