A healthy heart is a huge component to overall health, and high-intensity cardio workouts are most often seen as the best way to take care of your heart. The only problem is, cardio is stressful, which could be counterproductive to easing any tension you might be holding around the heart. Good news is that there are some specific exercises that are good for your heart that won’t leave you feeling the stressful aftermath of traditional cardio exercises. In honor of February, which is national American Heart Health Month, here’s a list of our favorite non-cardio heart exercises that will benefit you:
You probably didn’t think that stretching your legs had anything to do with your heart, right? Turns out, it has a lot to do with it. In a conducted study from 2008,
scientists at the University of North Texas and a handful of Japanese university researchers found a direct and clear correlation between flexibility and heart health. The study, which involved 526 adults varying in age and health, showed that participants who were more flexible in their legs and back and could touch their toes easily had less arterial stiffness, which is vital to a healthy heart. The same went for the opposite—those who showed low flexibility and could not touch their toes showed a higher rate of arterial stiffness leading to the heart. You don’t have to go rushing to the cardiologist if you can’t touch your toes, but it’d be a great idea to start a routine of stretching at least once a day for ten minutes or so. Try to work up closer and closer to being able to touch your toes while sitting down, and then eventually build up to reaching past them if you can.
Push-ups are an all around good workout to stay in shape. Not only do they develop your arm muscles but they also keep your heart in excellent shape. Your body has 12 major merdians, or energy channels, that carry energy to all of your organs, joints, and muscles. The heart meridian flows in your arms from your pinky leading up to the heart, so the pressing motion of a push-up activates this pathway and promotes a healthy flow of energy and blood to the heart. Try doing as many push-ups as you can without stopping for one minute
and practice doing these at every hour. You’ll see what a difference this can make physically and mentally!
As we accumulate stress and tension through daily life, meridians can have blockages and issues similar to arteries. Tapping is a great way to break up the blockages in your body that may be stuck inside like ice blocks—especially in the heart and chest area to get a healthy flow of energy to the heart. So before or after you do your stretching and other exercises, fit in some body tapping to your routine. A great tool to use for this is our acupressure ball massager,
which we highly recommend to tap your body easily—especially those hard to reach places.
The conception meridian
runs down the front and center of your body, and chest opening is a great way to unblock energy that keeps the chest area clear and open for the heart and lungs. This exercise also opens and loosens the back muscles, which are tied to heart flexibility and health as mentioned earlier. This one is especially a good one to do throughout the day so keep this simple routine included in your group of easy-to-do heart-serving exercises. We especially recommend this one for the office! It’s a simple exercise to do to on your own to quickly release stressful energy. Make sure that while you’re doing chest opening, keep your eyes forward even while rotating your torso and arms.
Now you’ve got a handful of exercises to keep your heart healthy without even stepping foot into those running shoes. If you do all, or even just a few, of these heart-healthy exercises once per day, you’ll gradually increase your flexibility for body, meridians, and most importantly—your heart.