Celebrate American Heart Month With Three Heart Healthy Workouts. February is the month when hearts are everywhere: candy hearts, chocolate hearts, heart balloons, you get the idea. February is also American Heart Month, and The Houstonian Club’s personal trainers want people to think about the most important heart – the one that keeps our bodies going.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, one person dies every 36 seconds in the United States from cardiovascular disease. Although genetics, family history, and age are important factors in our heart health, so are the lifestyle choices we make every day. “I encourage my clients to think of their hearts just like any muscle. The stronger your heart becomes, the more efficiently it will work in your body,” says Connie Emmerson, personal trainer at The Houstonian Club.
Keeping heart health top of mind, The Houstonian Club trainers share three heart-healthy workouts for individuals of all fitness levels.
Change Up Your Cardio
Personal trainer Bob Talamini at The Houstonian Club recommends cycling through three different workouts during the week. Each works on a different energy system and highlights different levels of cardiovascular fitness.
Hill Climb Interval Workouts: Using a treadmill, warm up for 5-10 min on a 2-5% grade and an easy speed. Then progress to a series of 5-10 two min hills followed by 2 min of easier effort. The hills might be 5-10+% with a speed of 2-5 MPH, and during your 2 min recovery, take the elevation down by 1/2 and the speed down by 1/2 (it should be easy and allow you to catch your breath).
ADD cardio workout: This is a long, less intense workout that keeps your heart rate at a steady level. It will involve splitting your workout time between 2-3 cardio machines. I like putting in machines that include both the upper and lower body as it will be easier to get your heart rate up and work out multiple parts of your body.
An example might be 15 min on the treadmill, 10 min on the rower, 10 min on the versa climber, and maybe 10 min on the bike. Just about the time you get bored, you change and get a bit of “new life.”
According to personal trainer at The Houstonian Club, Connie Emmerson, everyone could benefit from moving more. “Most of us have a sedentary lifestyle that contributes to visceral fat, which is intra-abdominal fat that leads to chronic disease, including heart disease.”
Examples of exercises that will get your heart pumping are brisk walking, playing tennis, playing pickleball, cycling, running, and swimming. Emmerson recommends trying to beat your time or distance each time you exercise. “If you walked one mile on Monday, try for 1.5 miles on Wednesday and then 2 miles on Friday, and remember, your only competition is YOU.”
Incorporate Ladder Workouts into Your Routine
Personal trainer Sean Cashman recommends incorporating “ladder” style workouts into your training program. A ladder workout is a technique where you perform one or more exercises with an ascending repetition configuration. “When programmed effectively with higher intensity exercise, ladders are an outstanding method for enhancing muscular endurance and conditioning,” says Cashman. “This equates to an efficient workout to keep your heart strong and healthy.”
Kettlebell swing and Push-up Ladder Workout
· Kettlebell Swing 1 rep, Push-up 1 rep, short rest interval.
· Kettlebell Swing 2 reps, Push-up 2 reps, short rest interval.
· Kettlebell Swing 3 reps, Push-up 3 reps, short rest interval.
· Kettlebell Swing 4 reps, Push-up 4 reps, short rest interval.
· Kettlebell Swing 5 reps, Push-up 5 reps, short rest interval.
· Continue up the Ladder to 10 or 20 reps depending on fitness level. Stop if the technique starts breaking down.
The Houstonian Club is making it easy to stay in shape and keep your heart in top condition with three heart healthy workouts for individuals at any fitness level. Details about the workouts are below and we are happy to connect you with the trainers for more information or questions. We are also happy to have you visit The Houstonian Club for a one-on-one session to learn more about the workouts.