SHA Magazine Fitness

Exercises for the heart: strengthen your vital core

SHA Magazine
February 19, 2024

No vital organ has inspired as much music, poetry and literature as the heart. However, the heart is just another muscle that needs to be trained to stay strong.

The heart muscle is unique when compared to other muscles in the body. Although it shares similarities with skeletal muscles, its activity is involuntary and it functions continuously, without getting tired. Its main function is to pump blood throughout the body. Keeping it healthy and fit is essential for overall well-being.

An active lifestyle is crucial for keeping the heart strong. The fight against sedentary lifestyles and the WHO’s recommendation of 10,000 steps a day are two signs that the scientific evidence has been very clear on this issue for several decades now. Regular physical exercise, a balanced diet and good stress management are key to maintaining cardiovascular health.

But what are the best activities for helping the heart to stay strong? Let’s just say that there is a lot of variety and that the range goes from moderate exercise to higher intensity practices. Any movement will do and any excuse is a good one to get off the couch for at least one hour three times a week.

Basic cardiovascular exercises: walking and running

Brisk walking or running are both accessible and very effective options. These exercises raise heart rate, improve blood circulation and help control body weight, reducing risk factors for heart disease. If they are done outdoors and in company, their benefits are multiplied.


This is a low-impact cardiovascular activity that works the leg muscles, increases cardiovascular endurance and protects the joints. You can cycle outdoors or indoors on an exercise bike, but like walking or running, cycling outdoors and in contact with nature adds neurological benefits, reduces stress and strengthens mental health.


This is a complete exercise that strengthens the heart muscles and improves lung capacity without damaging the joints. It calms the mind and reduces stress

High intensity interval training (the famous HIIT)

This is a routine that intersperses short bursts of intense exercise with periods of rest. This form of training not only burns calories, but it also improves cardiovascular fitness and helps regulate blood pressure. It is an exercise that must be designed and supervised by an expert to avoid injury and to maintain a balance between high intensity exercise and rest. Very effective for weight loss and perfect for fitting into busy schedules with little time to plan workouts.

Strength training

Adding weights to exercise and using resistance machines helps build muscle mass and improves cardiovascular health. A strong body works more efficiently, reducing the load on the heart. Moreover, strong muscles are very reliable predictor of longevity and quality of life.

Group aerobic exercise

This includes Zumba, dance classes and aquatic exercises such as aqua gym which, as well as improving cardiovascular capacity and endurance, add a social life benefit that underpins mental health and mood.

Yoga and Tai Chi to connect the mind with the heart

They look like gentle practices but require endurance of heart and mind, concentration and discipline. Their benefits for the heart and brain are manifold. You learn to control your breathing and harness its power to reduce anxiety and stress. Their ability to promote relaxation and serenity make them great exercises for heart health.


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