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Best and Worst Exercises for Heart Health

It seems that every day a new exercise program is coming out. Whether it is something intense that coaches are teaching in specialized gyms or something more simple, like at-home workout routines, it can be hard to know which exercises are actually beneficial for your heart and which you should avoid. 


In this brief article, our Tampa cardiac specialists share a few of the best and worst exercises for your heart health, and what to do before you start any new workout routine. 

Best Exercises for Heart Health 

If you ask anyone the best exercises for heart health, chances are you’ll get one answer: CARDIO! Cardio goes beyond a simple run on a treadmill or brisk walk, however, and there are a few great exercises that may not fall directly into the cardio category but which are still highly beneficial for your heart health. These exercises include: 

  • Interval training: combining short bursts of high intensity activity with longer periods of active recovery activities. For example, sprinting for one minute and walking quickly for two minutes, or doing jumping jacks for one minute and then walking for several minutes. This can help prevent diabetes, burn fat, and build muscle. 

  • Core workouts: yoga, pilates, and anything that builds core strength. You might think yoga and pilates are more low-impact, but these can still be highly challenging depending on your skill level and will help lower your blood pressure while improving your flexibility and balance. 

  • Swimming: both to build muscle and exercise the heart. Due to the buoyancy of the water, people often find swimming to be far more of a low-impact exercise that is especially helpful for people with joint pain.

Worst Exercises for Heart Health


It seems counterintuitive to suggest that there is an exercise that could negatively impact heart health. Unfortunately, there are a few exercises that can actually cause more of a strain to the heart than you may think. These include: 

  • Vigorous exercise for which you have not trained: like running a marathon or running long distance on pavement when you haven’t practiced. This can be dangerous for more than just your heart, it can be dangerous for other muscles and your joints. 

  • Any exercise that is not approved by your doctor if you have a history of heart disease. You will need to make sure that all exercises are approved by your doctor. This is especially important for those with pacemakers, a history of heart attack, or atrial fibrillation (Afib). 

Consult a Doctor if You Have a History of Heart Problems

Exercise is an important part of staying healthy. Not only can it help your heart but it can also help treat and prevent diabetes and other diseases. However, if you have a history of heart problems or are concerned about the potential impact of an exercise, talk with your doctor right away. To speak with a Tampa heart doctor, contact Dr. Popat to schedule an appointment today. 


To consult Jesal V. Popat, M.D., FACC, a Tampa heart doctor, please call (813) 344-0934 or fill out our contact form to schedule an appointment. 


Disclaimer: The contents of this website are for general educational purposes only. All content and media on the Jesal V. Popat, M.D., FACC website does not constitute professional medical advice nor is the information intended to replace the services of Jesal V. Popat, M.D., FACC or other qualified medical professionals. If you believe you are having a medical emergency, call 911 immediately.


The content, views, and opinions communicated on this website do not represent the views of Jesal V. Popat, M.D., FACC. Reliance on any information provided by this website is solely at your own risk. Although this website contains links to other medical websites, this is strictly for informational purposes. Jesal V. Popat, M.D., FACC is not responsible nor does the medical practice approve of the content featured on any third party linked websites referenced on this website. 

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