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Best Exercises for Cardiovascular Health


Moderate exercise can improve your strength, flexibility, endurance and cardiovascular health. Even though any amount of exercise is beneficial to your health, experts recommend doing a minimum of 75 minutes of aerobic exercise per week for your heart to reap the rewards.

The following exercises improve the way your body uses oxygen and strengthen your heart:

  • Interval Training – Combining short bursts of high-intensity exercise with longer periods of active recovery prevents heart disease, diabetes, promotes weight loss and efficiently improves fitness. So, if you focus on taking brisk walks, add one to two minutes of sprints for every five minutes of walking.


  • Weight Training – Similar to interval training, weight training increases your heart rate during reps, then you recover in between sets. While machine exercises are helpful, using free weights engages your core and builds balance for extra benefits.


  • Swimming – Swimming is a great, total-body, low-impact sport. Because so many muscles are involved in this total-body workout, the heart needs to work harder to fuel them. Other activities, such as rowing and cross-country skiing, provide similar cardiovascular benefits.


  • Yoga – Yoga is a calming exercise that burns a lot of calories, lowers blood pressure and promotes heart health. It also strengthens your core.


  • Stay active all day – Staying active all day when you have a desk job can be difficult. To combat the negative impact of sitting at a computer, try to get at least 30 minutes of exercise every day and run errands after work to make up for being sedentary.

What Exercises are Bad for your Heart?

There are very few exercises that are actually bad for your heart. However, those who are at risk for a heart attack should avoid any type of vigorous exercise that they haven’t trained for.

Some examples include:

  • Running long-distance
  • Swimming long-distance
  • Shoveling snow for extended periods of time
  • Biking more than 20 miles.

Consult your physician for information on keeping your heart healthy through exercise.


Nephrologists: The Hypertension Experts

Hypertension, or high blood pressure, is a difficult problem to treat. Usually hypertension develops later in life and requires treatment with dietary changes, exercise, weight control, and sometimes medications. Uncontrolled hypertension can have serious consequences, including stroke, heart attacks, peripheral vascular disease, blindness, and even kidney failure. However, there are times when high blood pressure can be associated with other diseases that need to be diagnosed and treated.

Treating high blood pressure is challenging, and may in some cases have a secondary cause. Nephrologists are hypertension experts, trained in the evaluation and treatment of high blood pressure.

Secondary causes of hypertension

  • underlying kidney disease
  • obesity
  • sleep apnea
  • uncontrolled diabetes
  • hormonal disorders (thyroid glands, adrenal glands)
  • kidney artery disease

If your primary care doctor is treating you with 3 or more medications for blood pressure, and your blood pressure still is running high, then you may need to see a nephrologist to help identify the cause of your hypertension, and to help treat it in order to get it under better control.

Pentucket Medical offers Nephrology services in the following locations.