Heart Healthy Outdoor Activities to Do This Spring
At South Denver Cardiology, we want all our patients to stay healthy. One of the best ways to keep your heart healthy is to be active. While you might have used our medical fitness gym to keep healthy all winter, spring in Colorado is a wonderful time to be active outside. We want to encourage all of our patients and the other members of our community to take advantage of the opportunity to enjoy themselves and improve their heart health with these springtime activities.
The Goals of Activity
There are many options for being active outdoors in the spring. We encourage you to understand what makes activities heart healthy so that you can choose the best ones for you. Ideally, your heart-healthy activities should accomplish all the following goals.
Elevated Heart Rate: When you’re active, it’s important to elevate your heart rate. This is sometimes described as cardio or aerobic exercise, but the goal is the same. Like any other muscle, your heart strengthens when exercised sensibly. Aerobic exercise improves your circulation, which means lowering your blood pressure and your resting heart rate.
Increased Strength: You should be spending at least some time developing your muscles with resistance training. You’re not necessarily trying to get buff but building muscle can help eliminate some of the fat deposits that impact your overall health and heart health.
Improved Flexibility and Balance: As you’re exercising, you want to make sure that you are stretching your muscles and joints. This helps you avoid injury, as well as joint and muscle pain. It’s also important for avoiding falls, which become increasingly serious as we get older.
Reduce Stress: Your stress levels can have a big impact on your heart health. Stress can lead to spikes in blood pressure and put an unhealthy strain on your heart. It can also cause you to engage in other unhealthy behaviors like stress-eating of unhealthy foods and overuse of nicotine, caffeine, alcohol, or illegal drugs, none of which is good for your heart.
When you’re choosing spring activities this year, make sure to choose a mix that is at least moderately strenuous, helps you build muscle, encourages flexibility, and reduces your stress.
Suggested Heart Healthy Activities
Here’s a list of outdoor activities that we recommend you try this spring:
- Yard work
Walking is one of the best exercises for encouraging a healthy heart. Almost anyone can add walking to your daily routine, and it’s easy to scale to your fitness level. Start with short and slow walks, and gradually increase the distance and pace.
We are also proud to announce the return of Walk with a Doc, our periodic group fitness walks. These walks are free, open to the community, and don’t require preregistration, though we ask you to RSVP. With ongoing COVID concerns, our groups are limited to 50 people and everyone should have a face covering.
Walk with a Doc doesn’t just exercise your body and heart, it exercises your brain, too, as a South Denver Cardiology Associates cardiologist will give a talk at each walk. In addition, they will answer any questions you may have about heart health. You also get the opportunity to socialize with other members of SDCA’s community.
Taking advantage of Colorado’s many hiking trails is another great way to stay healthy. Just make sure you choose a trail that is at your skill and fitness level.
Gardening is a great combination of moderate exercise, stretching, and enjoyment of nature. Spending time among the green and blooming plants of spring has been shown to reduce stress. Yard work tends to be a little more strenuous and perhaps a little less relaxing. However, it’s a good way to knock items off your to-do list while staying healthy.
You don’t have to be competitive for sports to be good for your heart. Getting in a round of golf can be very healthy, helping you to stretch and work your muscles. Ditching the cart and walking the course is especially good for your heart health.
Bicycling is a great way to work your heart without stressing your joints. It’s also practical—you can ride your bike to work or other destinations.
Let South Denver Cardiology Associates Help You Stay Healthy
At South Denver Cardiology Associates, we want to help you maintain good health. We want all your checkups to show how well you are, but if diagnostic testing reveals problems, we are always here to help.
If you have questions about your heart health or want a checkup, please schedule an appointment today.
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