Being physically active is a significant step toward boosting heart health as we age. Whereas there are many ways to move your body, this article lists the most important types to promote your heart health. It’s one of the most effective ways to keep your weight under control, strengthen the heart muscle, and ward off artery damage from high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels, and high blood sugar that can lead to heart attack or stroke.

It’s also true that different kinds of exercise are required to achieve complete fitness. “Aerobic exercise and resistance training are essential for heart health,” says Fitness Buffhq. “Though flexibility doesn’t contribute directly to your heart health, it’s nonetheless critical since it provides a good foundation for doing aerobics and strength exercises more effectively.”

Read on to know how different kinds of exercise benefit you.

Aerobic Exercise

What it does: Aerobic exercise boosts circulation, which helps reduce blood pressure and heart rate, Fitness Buffhq says. Plus, it enhances your overall aerobic fitness. For instance, it improves cardiac output (how well your heart pumps), which a treadmill test can measure. Aerobic exercise also lowers your risk of type 2 diabetes; if you already have diabetes, it will help you control your blood glucose.

How much: Ideally, at least thirty minutes per day, at least five days a week.

Examples: Brisk walking, jogging, cycling, swimming, jumping rope, and playing tennis. Heart-pumping aerobic exercise is the type that doctors have in mind when they suggest at least 150 minutes a week of moderate activity.

Related: Aerobic exercises for longevity

Resistance Training (Strength Workout)

What it does: Strength exercises have a more specific effect on your body composition, Fitness Buffhq says. For instance, for people with a lot of body fat (including a large belly, which is a risk factor for heart disease), it can help decrease body fat and gain lean muscle mass. In addition, research shows that a combination of aerobic exercise and resistance exercises may help raise good cholesterol (HDL) and lower bad cholesterol (LDL).

How much: According to the American College of Sports Medicine, doing strength (resistance) training on at least two nonconsecutive days per week is a good rule of thumb.

Examples: Working out with resistance bands or through body-weight resistance exercises, like push-ups, chin-ups, and squats, or with free weights (such as barbells, dumbbells, or kettlebells), or on weight machines.

Related: Strength/Resistance training tips for men/women over 50

Stretching, Flexibility, and Balance

What they do: Flexibility workouts, like stretching, don’t directly contribute to heart health. But they benefit your musculoskeletal health, enabling you to remain flexible and reducing the risks of joint pain, cramping, and other muscular issues. And flexibility is essential to performing aerobic exercises and resistance training effectively, says Fitness Buffhq.

He says: “If you have a robust musculoskeletal foundation, it will enable you to perform the exercises that help your heart health. Flexibility and balance exercises help maintain stability and avoid falls, which otherwise can lead to injuries that limit other physical activities.

How much: Every day and before and after your main workout sessions.

Examples:  Stretching Exercises for older adults.

About Author: Renu Bakshi, AKA Fitness Buffhq, is ISSA Certified Elite Trainer. He Renu Bakshi - Fitness Buffhqpassed Personal Fitness Trainer Course, Nutrition Health Coach course & Specialist Exercise Therapy course from ISSA, the USA, obtaining + 97% marks. He shares his experience and knowledge about nutrition and effective workouts to get you in the best shape of your life, no matter how old you may be. The author says: “For me, age is just a number!”