5 Heart-Healthy Cardio Exercises for Women

Sylvia Cochran
Yahoo! Contributor Network
5 Heart-Healthy Cardio Exercises for Women

"Deaths from cardiovascular diseases in women exceed the total number of deaths caused by the next 16 causes," the Women's Heart Foundation warns. You probably already know that women under 50 are twice as likely as men to die after a heart attack, but do you also know the five types of cardio exercises that can support your heart's health?

Before You Start

Before beginning any cardiovascular routine, visit a doctor and know your target heart rate. As noted by Folsom Lake College, you may calculate your maximum heart rate with the simple equation "210 - 1/2 your age - 5% of your body weight." Rush University Medical Center then suggests exercising with an intensity that keeps your heart pumping at 60 percent to 80 percent of the maximum rate. Maintain this target heart rate for 30 minutes per exercise session if possible.

1. Short on Time? Try Circuit Training!

Experts at the University of Rochester Medical Center note that 30 minutes of circuit training, with at least 25 minutes of elevated heart rate, will do the trick. Getting your heart pumping is simple since the exercises are supposed to be done quickly. Circuits include push-ups, squats with or without weights, static lunges and bicycle kicks. Ask a trainer at your gym to help you set a routine.

2. Walk or Jog for 75 to 150 Minutes a Week

The American Heart Association knows that finding the right type of exercise is just as important as elevating your heart rate. If you can commit to a vigorous pace that leaves dog walkers and mall shoppers in the dust, 75 minutes per week is enough. For the beginner walker, 150 minutes per week is better; this translates into five days of 30-minute walks.

3. Seniors Should Opt for Stationary Machines

A rower, treadmill or stationary bike is a good way of getting heart-friendly exercise says Senior Care Psychological Consulting. Women in their golden years do not always enjoy the types of exercise that take them outdoors in any weather and tend to prefer a climate-controlled gym instead. Aim for half an hour of stationary bike riding or the rowing machine on most days of the week for maximum heart benefit.

4. Team Sports are Perfect for Girls

There used to be a time when women worrying about heart health were close to retirement. With the epidemic rise in childhood obesity, now even underage girls may be at risk of impaired heart health due to high blood pressure and obesity. The Texas Heart Institute notes that girls and young women may benefit from joining a basketball or soccer team. Practices usually last about an hour and include many different types of workouts as well as stretches and cross-training activities.

5. Elliptical Machines Help Orthopedic Problems

If you are overweight, you may worry about doing weight-bearing exercises. Your joint health may have suffered because of excess weight, which can easily dissuade you from even putting on your running shoes. Experts at the University of Alabama at Birmingham note that an elliptical machine is an excellent solution for women with orthopedic problems related to excess weight.