A Different Kind of Exercise for Heart Health and Beyond

Was one of your resolutions this year to become more physically fit? It was for me. You haven’t fallen off your resolution wagon, have you? I know I haven’t, and we’ll assume you still have the drive and desire to achieve what you set out to do too. We’ve got this.

As you get into the swing of exercising on a regular basis, you’re sure to notice your heart rate going up more with certain types of exercise and less with others. That’s good, normal, and what you want.

Since February is Heart Health Awareness Month, it’s a good time to ask what types of exercise are best for a healthy heart?

One key element for a healthy heart is to get it pumping at a good clip with cardio exercise several times a week. This will keep your heart strong, increase your lung capacity, contribute to weight loss, reduce stress, help you sleep better…the list goes on and on.

What are some good, heart-healthy activities you can consider bringing into your life? There’s the traditional running path (pun intended). If that’s something you enjoy, go for it. It’s not, however, something I’m drawn to. When I was deciding what exercise to take up, I knew I had to look for something that I’d be motivated to sustain over the long haul.

According to the American Heart Association, activities that require you to move your arms and legs are the most beneficial to the heart. The rhythmic movements of aerobic exercises like bicycling, swimming, walking, and even dancing all fit this description. But I’ve found one exercise that I enjoy more than all of these—kickboxing.

I got it in my head that I wanted to give kickboxing a try last spring. But with our family relocating and getting acquainted with our new surroundings, I didn’t do anything about it. Enter 2017 resolutions!

This year, my hubby and I resolved to get in shape together, and I talked him into giving kickboxing a try with me. Since early January, we’ve been getting up six days a week for our 5:15 a.m. class. It’s been awesome! We both have more energy throughout the day, our clothes fit better, and I feel myself getting stronger—physically and mentally.

Since I dig into most any topic that comes up in our family’s world, I looked into the benefits of kickboxing. An articled titled “The Benefits of the Cardio Kickboxing Workout” from American Fitness Professionals & Associates confirmed for me that this was the right activity to help us achieve our goals.

Kickboxing is a total body exercise routine, meaning it involves your whole body rather than just a particular muscle group, i.e., crunches. This helps with overall body composition and gets you where you want to go more efficiently. I love me some efficiency.

It’s also a “heart-pumping” cardio workout that’s great for burning fat, especially belly fat, which can be an indicator of conditions such as heart disease. It does the heart good.

Kickboxing kinda makes me feel like a bad ass. I’ve always shied away from anything related to violence. However, learning the punches and kicks and then applying them to the bag has made me more aware of a power within me that I’d never thought about. (Don’t worry, I’ll always be a pacifist.)

This month, as you think about the health of your heart, be sure to start a new habit that will increase the longevity of this important organ—no matter which activity strikes your fancy. And if you’re looking for something a little different, give kickboxing a try—for your heart health and beyond.

Of course, exercise alone can’t guarantee your heart is in tip-top condition. Next week we’ll discuss the importance of nutrition and the most beneficial form of vitamins you can take for your heart.

Don’t be a statistic of heart disease or New Year’s resolution failures. Commit to your healthiest year yet!

Photo from iStock/OSTILL

Paula Widish

Paula Widish, author of “Trophia: Simple Steps to Everyday Self-Health”, is a freelance writer and self-healther. She loves nothing more than sharing tidbits of information she has discovered with those who are interested. (Actually, she loves her family more than that—and probably bacon too.) Paula has a bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Public Relations and is a Certified Professional Life Coach through International Coach Academy. To get in touch with her, leave a message here or check out her website at PaulaWidish.com

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cardiovascular health | holistic health

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