Improving heart health


SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Oftentimes when it comes to getting heart healthy you hear what not to do.

Sometimes that can mean limiting certain foods or trying not to be a couch potato.

Ashley Eaton is squeezing in one last workout with her soon to be husband just one day before their wedding.

She says getting in the gym regularly leaves her feeling stress free– even with only 24 hours before her big day.

“It’s just a great stress reliever. I don’t feel right when I don’t get my workouts in. I feel better when they’re done, it just helps start my day,” Eaton said.

Eaton grew up tagging along with her dad to the gym, and says the habit has stuck with her.

Sanford Wellness exercise specialist Macie Michelson says Eaton’s on the right track, stating that regular exercise will not only keep you in shape but will also keep your heart strong.

“Exercise is not only going to strengthen the muscles, it’s also going to strengthen the heart because your heart is a muscle,” Michelson said.

She says a strong heart works more effectively and by incorporating some exercise you can also expect your blood pressure to go down.

Eaton and her fiancé focus on cardio with a mix of strength training, which is exactly what Michelson suggests.

“Anything that can elevate your heart rate is going to give you, is going to help your heart,” Michelson said.

She says fitness trackers are a great tool to help you monitor your heart rate, but they’re not a necessity.

If you don’t have a fitness tracker watching your heartbeat, experts say you’ll be able to tell if it’s at the right level by monitoring your breathing.

“If you can do an exercise and still talk, you need to increase your heart rate a bit more. If you’re going to the point where you can’t keep a conversation and you’re taking breathes between each one you’ve kind of hit the highest point to your area,” Michelson said.

Eaton says that’s how she measures the kind of workout she’s getting, adding that while it isn’t always easy it is always worth it.

“You get out of breath, you get a little tired, but then it’s important to push past that because you’re never going to improve without doing so,” Eaton said.

Michelson added that it’s important you’re doing any exercise correctly, and recommends anyone with questions to reach out to a personal trainer.

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