As World Heart Day is celebrated this year, Aakriti Patni brings you a few exercise tips to keep your heart hale and... well, hearty
In illness, it’s important never to lose heart. Sharing this message, the World Heart Federation (WHF), a non-governmental organisation based in Geneva, Switzerland, leads the fight to spread awareness about heart disease. The WHF traces its origins back to 1988, when the International Society of Cardiology (formed in 1946) and the International Cardiology Federation (founded in 1970) joined hands. With multiple initiatives to support their cause, the WHF had to have a day to celebrate the organ they work to protect. Celebrated annually on September 29, World Heart Day is a day to learn about and work towards a healthy heart. This year, we bring you a few simple exercises recommended by fitness experts from the city that you can include in your regime for a strong heart.
Also known as cardio exercises, these are repetitive movements of large muscle groups, which get your heart beating faster than normal. They are the most beneficial type of exercise for your cardiovascular system. Regular cardio workouts can strengthen your heart and blood vessels, improve the flow of oxygen throughout your body and reduce your risk of heart disease.
Dr. Samrat Shah, metabolic specialist at Saifee Hospital, explains why aerobic training helps maintain a healthy heart. “The heart being a muscle, gets stronger and healthier if you lead an active life. The American Health Association (AHA) recommends 30 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise at least five days a week. However, you must select different exercises of varying intensities to maximise the heart health benefit. Aim to reach 70-85% of your maximum heart rate (MHR), where you calculate MHR as 220 minus your age,” says Dr. Samrat.
Stair training: This exercise works on the hamstrings, glutes and calves, and all you need to perform it is a flight of stairs. It involves stepping up and down on the stairs, gradually increasing your pace. An advanced version of the exercise includes jumping from one stair to the next, and then back down again, with your feet together.
Squat jumps: Begin by standing with your feet shoulder-width apart and lowering yourself into a normal squat position. From this position, jump up and extend your hands above your head. When you land, return to the standing position and repeat the entire squat jump again. Do four sets of 12-15 repetitions and take no more than 60 seconds of rest between each set.
We’re well aware of the many benefits of this ancient practice, and it may have heart benefits too. Yoga is believed to build cardiovascular health, increase lung capacity and improve respiratory function and heart rate. Holistic wellness expert Prameet Kotak tells us, “Like every muscle in your body, the heart too requires to be exercised. It requires to be warmed up, challenged and cooled down. The best way to warm up your heart is with a 15-minute warm-up session.”
Supta Padangusthasana: The Reclining Big Toe Pose, as it is also known, stretches the hips and thighs, strengthens the knees and is therapeutic if you suffer from high blood pressure. Lie on your back, lift your right leg and bend your knee, bringing it as close to your face as possible. Slowly straighten the right leg and bend it towards your body. Reach out with your right hand and place it on your right toe, pulling the leg close to your body. Hold this pose for 5-10 seconds and release, bringing the right leg back to the mat. Repeat with the other leg.
HISTORY OF WORLD HEART DAY
World Heart Day is dedicated to educating the public about the dangers of cardiovascular disease (CVD) and promoting a healthy way of living for a healthy heart. Started in the year 2000 by the World Heart Federation, every year several major international non-profit organisations collaborate with the WHF to celebrate World Heart Day. Through the campaign, effective preventive measures are promoted to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. Also, many events and activities related to heart health are organised. These include concerts, public talks, heart check-up camps, sporting events, walks, science forums, fitness sessions, stage shows, screenings and exhibitions.
2017: SHARE THE POWER
“Small changes can make a powerful difference. On World Heart Day, share how you power your heart and inspire millions of people around the world to be heart healthy.” – World Heart Day 2017
This year, the theme for World Heart Day is to share your secret for a healthy and powerful heart. So, care for your heart with simple healthy gestures and inspire the world to stay heart healthy.
Log on to the website www.worldheartday.org/take-action to participate and support the cause.