Exercises & Foods To Strengthen Heart Muscles

Heart disease could be a great concern. In fact, according to the National Heart Lung And Blood Institute, Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States, killing as estimated 500, 000 adults every year. Regular physical exercise can play the biggest role in strengthening the heart muscles, and individuals who are inactive, are twice as likely to suffer from heart issues as people who are active physically.

In this article we will talk about some of the exercise, foods and more tips to strengthen heart muscles.

Exercises To Strengthen Heart Muscles

Before we talk about some of the exercises to strengthen heart muscles, we will let you know about some of the exercise tips.

Exercise Tip 1 to Strengthen Heart Muscle. Engage in 30 minutes of physical exercise or activities at least 5 days a week. This exercise must not be an intense workout, but a mere brisk walking would be okay.

Exercise Tip 2 to Strengthen Heart Muscle. Exercise for at least 60 minutes, most of the days in a week if you are obese or overweight. This will prevent weight gain and also assist with gradual weight loss.

Exercise Tip 3 to Strengthen Heart Muscle. Include aerobic exercises like cycling or jogging, strength training activities and flexibility exercises to your exercise routine. Your heart health will be benefited when you combine all these three types of physical activities.

NOTE: Always talk to your doctor if you show any symptoms of heart problems.

Some Of The Best Exercises To Strengthen Heart Muscles:

Brisk Walking:

Our body needs to walk. Maybe you rack up the miles on a treadmill or you walk on the road, brisk walking is a natural way to improve your fitness. You must wear supportive and comfortable walking shoes while brisk walking. Brisk walking is one of the most effective exercises for strengthening your heart muscles.


One more heart healthy exercise is running. If you are a beginner to the running activity, then begin with a brisk walk first and add 2 minutes of running for every 5 minutes of walking. You can gradually increase the minutes of running, as you get more fit and habituated to it.


Cycling is another exercise that can help strengthen heart muscles. It is a low impact exercise that can be done in the gym, or on the roads. While cycling, your heart us pumping and thus strengthen its muscle. Apart from this cycling also helps in building your strength and also help to tone your lower body and core muscles.


Swimming also strengthens your heart muscles. Swimming classes will help you raise your heart rate and also improve your heart health.

The water offers multi-directional resistance that enhances your muscular strength and muscle tone. If you have problems in joint and cannot do cycling, running or walking, then you can go for swimming.

Interval Training:

Interval training can also be done for strengthening heart muscles. It helps in preventing heart diseases, diabetes, weight loss and also in improving fitness.

You need to combine short bursts of high intensity exercise with slightly longer periods of active recovery. For example, if you are walking, you might alternate 3 minutes at normal speed with 1 minute of brisk walk. By continuously raising and lowering the heart rate, you improve the vascular functions, burn more calories and also make your body more efficient at clearing fat and sugar from the blood.


Practicing yoga regularly helps you remain calm, which helps in lowering blood pressure making blood vessels more elastic and thus improving the heart health. Apart from this, yoga also strengthens your core.

Exercises That Are Not Good For Heart Muscles And Should Be Avoided:

Below are some of the exercises that you should avoid for better heart health.

Running Long Distances:

Though running is good enough for strengthening heart muscles, you must keep in mind that running long distance can actually wear out your body.

Any Type Of Vigorous Exercise That You Have Not Trained For:

One more thing that your need to keep a strict note is, to avoid any type of vigorous exercise that you have not trained for. Also make sure not to exercise hard without warming up.

Foods To Strengthen Heart Muscles

Before we talk about the foods that should be included and those that should be avoided so as to strengthen your heart muscles, we must know how our food or diet affects the heart.

The foods we eat can affect our weight, hormones, and the health of our organs, including the heart health. So, eating a healthy diet can help in reducing the risk of heart disease and stroke. Let us talk about the foods that are good in strengthening the heart muscles and also about the foods that you should avoid.

Some Tips On Foods And Eating Habits That Are Good For Heart Muscles:

Before we talk about the foods that are good for heart muscles, let us take a look on some of the tips about foods and eating habits that are essential for a healthy heart.

Food Tip 1 to Strengthen Heart Muscles. Cut the number of calories you consume each day by about 500, which can help you lose weight. Being overweight puts extra strain on the heart muscles and thus cause them you work harder and weakening them over time.

Food Tip 2 to Strengthen Heart Muscles. It is essential for you to eat a balanced diet that is low in saturated and trans fats and also contain lots of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean protein sources.

Food Tip 3 to Strengthen Heart Muscles. Drink in moderation and limit the intake of salt so as to help control blood pressure.

Food Tip 4 to Strengthen Heart Muscles. In order to prevent further damaging of the heart and to allow you heart to begin healing, stop smoking (in case you have been smoking for years). Smokers are 6 times more likely to experience a heart attack than the non-smokers.

Foods To Eat For Good Heart Health:

Foods Rich In Healthy Fats:

Some fats are actually good for you. While you are using fats for cooking, choose monounsaturated fats like canola oil or olive oil. Avocados are also a good source of monounsaturated fat. Polyunsaturated fats and omega-3 fatty acids are also healthy for your heart. Polyunsaturated fats could be found in seeds and nuts. Fish such as tuna and salmon are rich in Omega-3 fats.

You should generally try to avoid trans fats, which are usually found in processed foods and snacks such as crackers or snack cakes.

Fruits And Vegetables:

Fruits and vegetables are also good foods that strengthen your heart muscles. They are rich in fiber, minerals and vitamins that are essential for the body.

Whole Grains:

Whole grain breads or pasta are rich in fiber and complex carbohydrates. So, choose these foods instead of white breads or regular pastas for sandwiches and meals.


Dry beans, peas and lentil offer protein and fiber. These could be good foods for a healthy heart.

Low-Fat Diary:

You can go for fat-free or low-fat dairy products including milk, yogurt and cheese. Do not eat more than 4 egg yolks in a week

Protein Rich Foods:

Eat protein-rich foods such as lean meats, fish, skinless poultry, eggs, nuts and seeds and beans.

Foods To Avoid:

Limit or avoid the following things in your diet. This would be good for your heart muscles and overall heart health.

Foods rich in Sodium:

You should avoid foods that are rich in sodium. Avoid prepackaged foods, canned foods, sauces and processed foods as they are rich in sodium salt.

Saturated and Trans fats:

You must avoid saturated and trans fats for keeping healthy heart. Saturated fats are found in fatty meats, whole-milk dairy, poultry skin, butter, lard, and coconut and palm oils. Trans fats are present in some desserts, frozen pizza, microwave popcorn, and coffee creamers.

Added Sugar:

Sweetened drinks, snack and sweet treats are important source of added sugars in the United States. These include sweetened coffee and tea, sodas, energy drinks, pies, cakes, candy, jellies, and syrups. So, try to avoid or limit such foods and drinks.


Limit alcohol intake. It must be noted that men should have no more than 2 drinks a day and women should restrict it to no more than 1 drink per day. Excess of alcohol can raise your blood pressure and can cause you to gain weight and also can contribute to or worsen heart failure in some individuals.

Additional Tips to Strengthen Heart Muscles

Manage Any Health Conditions:

It is important for you to treat any health conditions that may be interfering with the strength of your heart, such as diabetes and high cholesterol. Talk to your doctor about steps you can take for managing these conditions and consider taking medication if it becomes necessary.

Manage Stress:

Stress and anxiety can cause anything from high blood pressure to asthma to irritable bowel syndrome or IBS.

As per the American heart Association, your body reacts to stress by releasing adrenaline hormone, that causes your breathing and heart rate to speed up and your blood pressure to rise. Chronic stress that causes this increase in blood pressure can damage the artery walls, putting you at risk for heart disease or heart strokes.

So, it is essential for you to manage your stress, which will help you feel more in control of your life, giving you a greater sense of well-being. Relaxation or meditation can help you in managing stress. Apart from his, taking a break from the stressor, and engaging in hobbies such as reading, gardening or painting can help you in this.

Have Adequate Sleep:

The average adult requires 7-9 hours of sleep nightly, yet many fail to reach that average. Our heart, like every other part of the body, requires a regular period of relative rest so as to recharge for the following day. Sufficient restful sleep enables your heart and body to be revitalized, and also can reduce the stress levels and the blood pressure.

Studies have shown that people who get between 7-9 hours of sleep per night have less calcium deposits in their arteries, than those individuals who get either less or more than this recommended amount of sleep.

Take Vitamin E and Aspirin:

Ask your doctor about vitamin E and aspirin. According to a recent University of Pennsylvania study, Men who take vitamin E and aspirin, cut the plaque in clogged arteries by more than 80%.


Weak heart muscles can develop after years of unhealthy lifestyle or following an acute heart trauma, like heart attack. Make sure that you pay proper attention on what you eat or your food, exercise and lifestyle. Even though you can try out the exercise and foods we have mentioned above, it is always essential for you to consult with your doctor before making any changes in your exercise or diet routine.

“Treat your body right, your heart will smile at you!”

Also Read:

Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:November 13, 2018

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