With our Valentine’s Day Dash coming up, we were thinking of even more reasons why it’s a great idea to get signed up! As a reminder, running is a great way to improve and maintain heart health. But how does running actually help with keeping your heart in shape? Let’s find out-
Your Heart is a Muscle
One thing that people tend to forget about is that your heart is a muscle, constantly pumping blood throughout the body. And just like all muscles, the way how you can get them to be stronger and maintain that muscle is by working it out. Unlike abs or biceps, however, doing crunches or using bench presses aren’t the best way to exercise your heart.
As your heart is part of your cardiovascular system, running- being a cardio exercise- is one of the best ways to exercise your heart. Cardiovascular exercises are characterized by highly aerobic exercises such as running, swimming, biking, etc. as compared to anaerobic exercises such as lifting weights or arm curls. By running, you not only keep your heart in shape but also start building your heart muscle, allowing your heart to run more efficiently and move more oxygen. This is what it means to build cardiovascular endurance, which is essentially a question of how efficient your heart is and pumping blood and moving oxygen.
Aside from the obvious benefits of having a more efficient heart, studies have shown that runners were 45% less likely of dying from conditions such as a heart attack or stroke, which are both cardiovascular ailments. There’s also been a correlation between being a runner and living slightly longer than the average person.
Give Your Heart a Rest
Given all these benefits, you might be inclined to run a marathon right now, (like our Valentine’s Day Dash) but like working any other muscle, it’s important to give your heart some breaks in training to rest up and regain some strength. One of the best ways to go about this is to alternate your aerobic and anaerobic exercises if you consistently workout, or at the very least giving your heart a rest day to recover. Pushing your heart too hard can lead to complications such as with ultra-marathoners who run extremely long distances. People who constantly put their heart under so much strain have been seen to suffer from heart rhythm problems, also known as arrhythmia.
It’s important to make sure that your heart stays healthy, but just remember to give your heart a rest to make sure it gets the recovery time it needs. If you’re looking for an opportunity to help build some of that heart health, feel free to look into the details of our Valentine’s Day Dash- https://alexandershope.org/valentines-day-dash-2021/
Forbes Aggabao -Alexander’s Hope Intern