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Cardio or Strength Training? What Exercises Are Best For Heart Health?

The debate rages on in the world of personal fitness as to what type of exercise is the best: cardio or strength training? There’s no question that hours spent at the gym can get you a summer body, but what about people who are more interested in their heart health? What exercises can they do to ensure that they live a long and healthy life? 


In this article, we pit cardio and strength training against each other to see which one yields the best results for anyone trying to improve their heart health. If you’re concerned with high cholesterol, high blood pressure, or heart disease, these exercises are sure to have an incredibly positive impact on your life. And for any assistance achieving your health goals, consult Tampa Bay cardiac specialists near you. 

Get Your Heart Rate Up With Cardio 

For improving heart health, nothing beats cardio. Cardio exercises make you breathe faster and get your heart pumping, thereby improving circulation, lowering blood pressure, and burning calories. It’s easy to see why cardio is so good for heart health. Basically, cardio exercise helps your heart beat better. It can even help prevent and manage heart disease and type 2 diabetes. There are countless cardio exercises. Anything that raises your heart rate counts, but here are a few common ones:


  • Climbing stairs

  • Cycling

  • Jogging

  • Jumping rope

  • Rowing

  • Swimming 

  • Walking 


There’s no need to go overboard if you are just starting to include exercise into your weekly routine. Any amount of exercise should be seen as an achievement. A person should aim for 150 minutes of moderate-intensity cardio exercise a week. However, if you’ve been living a sedentary lifestyle or are concerned for your heart health, be sure that you are cleared by Tampa cardiac specialists before taking on a new exercise regimen. 


Related: Stuck Inside? Here’s How You Can Stay Active 

What About Strength Training?

Strength training can still have an incredibly positive effect on heart health, especially for people who are overweight. Strength training can help you achieve a healthy body weight, increase muscle mass (which helps burn calories), strengthen your bones, and reduce your risk of injury. Although strength training doesn’t have as profound an effect on heart health as cardio exercise, it can help you obtain and maintain a healthier lifestyle. As a bonus, you don’t need a gym to strength train. At home weights, resistance bands, and your own body weight can be used in simple exercises. Here are some strength exercises you can do at home to get you started: 


  • Squats

  • Lunges

  • Pushups

  • Chinups


Try to strength train at least twice per week. And as with any exercise, be sure to properly warm-up before starting your strength training. 


Related: How a Plant-Based Diet Can Improve Your Heart Health 

Improving Heart Health With Positive Lifestyle Changes 

Although cardio is better for heart health, a person should try to include both cardio and strength training in their weekly exercise regimen. And if you really want to improve your heart health, you can make this a part of your new active and healthy lifestyle. Making changes like these isn’t easy, but they could be lifesaving for anyone at an increased risk for heart disease. For a professional who can assess your heart health and help you safely achieve a healthier lifestyle, schedule an appointment with Jesal V. Popat, M.D., FACC, one of the best Tampa Bay cardiac specialists

To consult Jesal V. Popat, M.D., FACC, one of the top Tampa cardiac specialists, 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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