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The Weekend Workout: Fun, Heart-Healthy Exercises

Just like weight-lifting strengthens your muscles, regular exercise makes your heart (which is also a muscle) stronger. The stronger your heart is, the more blood it can pump with each beat – meaning your body gets oxygen faster and more efficiently.

Aerobic exercise has been proven to provide the most benefit to your heart, can be incredibly fun and does not mean you have to spend all day in a gym. This type of exercise includes everything from skiing, bicycling, skating and rowing, to something as simple as walking around your neighborhood.

Get Groovy
Aerobic dancing can be a great way to have fun, start your blood pumping and get your body in shape. Zumba is a great example of this type of exercise. If you don’t have a class available to you, just turn on some up-beat music and let loose for about 30 minutes.

Take a Lap
Swimming is an excellent form of exercise because it is a complete workout for your entire body. Due to water resistance, aquatic exercises can improve your strength and flexibility, leading to better muscular endurance and balance. One move to try out is water-jogging. While performing this exercise maintain an upright position, land in a heel-ball-toe action, and pump your arms the same way you would if you were on land. Once you have developed a good technique that is comfortable for you, aim to walk or jog in the water for 20 to 40 minutes.

Skip Rope
This exercise is not just for grade-schoolers. Jumping rope is a great calorie-burner; you’d have to run an eight-minute mile to work off more calories than you’d burn jumping rope for the same amount of time. So pay homage to your third-grade self and spend 15 to 20 minutes jumping – you might be surprised by how humbling the experience can be.

Take a Hike
Offering a great diversion from a gym or street walk, hiking is an excellent cardiovascular workout for the entire family. Hiking offers both nature enthusiasts and those without an affinity for the outdoors an opportunity to obtain the recommended aerobic workout while enjoying both the beauty of the great outdoors, as well as the social aspect of hiking.

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