As we get older, the risk of developing heart disease increases—and even more so for men, who have a higher overall risk. Fortunately, there are things men can do to prevent heart disease, including exercise. Here are the best workouts for your heart:
Your heart is a muscle, too, so you want to give it a good weekly workout. Any vigorous aerobic activity that gets your heart pumping and makes you breathe harder—jogging, bike riding, playing tennis—will exercise your heart and lungs, lower your blood pressure and cholesterol, and increase cardiovascular fitness. How much is enough? Breaking a sweat for 20 minutes three times per week is enough to strengthen your heart. More is even better.
If you haven't exercised in a while, try low-impact workouts, such as swimming or using an elliptical trainer or stationary bike at a slower pace for the same amount of time. To build endurance, add short bursts of intensity to your activity. After warming up for a few minutes, take it to the max for one minute, then slow down to recover for two minutes. Repeat. Brisk walking (not strolling) that gets your heart rate up by 10 beats per minute is another option.
Add a little weight lifting
Strength training is also key for optimal cardiac health, and all you need are three 10-minute resistance-training workouts per week. We're not talking about bench pressing monster truck tires. We mean pushing and pulling against some kind of resistance (e.g. resistance bands, a weight machine, dumbbells, your own body weight), using the heaviest weight you can hoist while maintaining perfect form. This tiny amount of strength training builds muscle and stokes your calorie-burning furnace because muscle burns more calories than fat.