Exercising for a healthy heart
by Carly McDougal
The heart is a muscle, and just like any other muscle in the body we need to work it out in order to stay healthy. Physical activity has been proven to reduce the risk of heart disease, however not everyone enjoys donning their favourite pair of leg warmers and channelling their inner Jane Fonda just to work up a sweat. Here are some fun ways to reach your daily exercise goals and keep that ticker in tip-top shape:
Get outside: In the age of FitBit’s and activity trackers it almost seems too easy to set yourself a goal and get moving, but if that’s not your thing you can always make a day of it and head to the beach or your local national park for a more scenic brisk stroll, go for a bike ride (extra points for doing a rad bunny hop), or even join an outdoor fitness class (I hear Parkour is taking off… pun intended). We are lucky enough to be surrounded by some of the most beautiful coastlines and have so many gorgeous parks within a short drive of our capital cities, so why not get outside and enjoy nature while getting back to your health!
Ice-Skating: Beat the summer heat and have fun while exercising? Sign me up! Places like this seem to be overlooked sometimes but it is seriously so much fun, whether you take your friends, your family, your partner, or just ride the solo skate train. Who knows, maybe you have a secret talent in ice-skating that you have not yet unleashed, this could be the start of something amazing, or at least be a fun way to get you moving.
Swimming: What better way to beat the Aussie heat AND get your heart pumping! Whether you’re at the beach or in a pool, swimming is a fantastic, low-impact way to get your body moving. For those who are looking for more structure than just swimming laps there is always aqua aerobics, did you know they put bikes in pools now? And treadmills?! Crazy right! Google is your friend, check out your local area and see what they have available!
Yoga: Now, I don’t mean to alarm you, but, dog yoga (doga) is actually a thing, this is game changing! Well, game changing for those who have a dog, or can borrow a friends dog, maybe adopt a dog, I just really like dogs. However, if you aren’t a dog person then there are so many different styles of yoga for you to choose from, and so many yoga studios around, we are really spoilt for choice these days. My advice is, try as many as you can to find the right one for you.
Dancing: Admit it, when you’re sitting at the RSL with your family enjoying the Sunday Roast, and the regulars all jump up and whip out their best rock’n’roll dance moves to the house bands rendition of ‘Crocodile Rock’, you secretly wish you had those moves. Well wish no more! Hit up your nearest dance class, some cities have freebies too, from rock’n’roll, to salsa, and Zumba, they’re bound to have a flavour that suits your taste!
Rock-climbing/bouldering: Overcome your fear of heights and look really cool while you’re doing it, bouldering and rock-climbing are becoming increasingly popular and it’s easy to see why! These two sports combine strength, flexibility, and cardiovascular fitness, with problem solving and an adrenaline rush that seems to give you super-powers. The bonus is you don’t have to dive right in and start outdoors, there are indoor centres open around the country where you can try out this awesome sport within a safe controlled environment, under the supervision of expert instructors.
Stand-up paddle boarding: Now this is an activity I can get behind, not only will this get your heart rate up, stand-up paddle boarding also challenges your balance and core strength. Plus it’s a perfect way to cool off in the warmer months! Don’t worry, you don’t need to own a board, there are so many places along the coast that hire out boards, and kayaks too! Get your friends together and head out on the water, this is one form of exercise that won’t feel like a chore.