A cardiologist shares her heart-healthy workout plan that fits into her busy life
Exercise is one of the most important things you can do for your heart, a cardiologist said.
Nicole Harkin aims for three to four 30-minute workouts a week, including spinning and running.
Doing something is better than nothing, she told Insider.
Cardiologist Nicole Harkin shared how she exercises to keep her heart healthy in a way that fits into her busy life.
As a mother to three children under eight and also the owner of private practice, Whole Heart Cardiology in San Francisco, Harkin doesn't have tons of free time. However, she told Insider she fits it in because exercise is one of the most important things people can do to prevent heart disease.
How much we exercise has a direct link with cardiovascular risk in general, and there's a pretty straight line between someone's cardio-respiratory fitness (or how in shape they are) and their risk of cardiovascular disease, as well as death from any cause, she said.
"In terms of cardiovascular prevention, really the big emphasis is on aerobic exercise, so really getting that exercise that gets your heart-rate up, gets you breathing heavily," Harkin said.
The American Heart Association and American College of Cardiology advise that people do either 75 minutes of vigorous exercise or 150 minutes of moderate intensity exercise weekly.
Moderate intensity exercise might be fast walking, doubles tennis, or an active yoga class, and vigorous exercise might be running, swimming fast laps, or a spin class, Harkin said.
Harkin exercises vigorously for three or four hours a week
As a busy woman, Harkin fits exercise in when she can — this will look different for everyone and having some flexibility is important, she said.
For example, if Harkin's husband is at home in the morning and can look after their children, she will exercise before going to work. If she's working from home, she might exercise at lunchtime.
Harkin aims for three or four half-hour sessions of vigorous exercise each week, knowing that if she doesn't manage them all, she'll still have looked after her heart and hit the minimum target.
Harkin is a self-proclaimed "Peloton junkie" and loves spinning, she said. She also goes to bootcamp or HIIT-style classes such as Barry's Bootcamp, works out at home, and loves running.
She aims to do one weight-lifting class a week too, as strength-training is important for cardiovascular health as well as bone health, blood pressure, glucose regulation, and body composition, she said.
Any exercise is better than nothing
If you can't do 75 minutes of exercise a week, however, there are still benefits to doing whatever you can, Harkin said.
"Anything you can do is better than nothing," Harkin said. "But the reason why those cut-offs are recommended is that we really do see that that's where the benefit really takes off in terms cardiovascular prevention."
When you go above those recommendations, there are still benefits, but they start to plateau, she said.
Harkin advises breaking up your exercise into whatever windows of time works for you, so even if you only have 15 minutes to workout one day, that's still worth doing.
Read the original article on Insider