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According to a recent article in Time magazine, research conducted at the London School of Economics, Harvard Medical School and Stanford University School of Medicine found that the effects of exercise proved to be just as beneficial as ‘drug therapy’ for patients suffering from a host of illnesses including diabetes and heart conditions. The article further mentioned that an increasing number of doctors worldwide are beginning to prescribe exercise instead of medication for such patients.

Here are some exercises you should do to keep your heart strong:

Brisk walking: If you have a sedentary lifestyle, start with walking 500 strides briskly every day; increase the number of strides slowly and make sure that your toes, knees and hips stay aligned when you walk for better joint health.

Cardiovascular/aerobic exercise: Running, jogging, swimming, cycling, step aerobics and zumba – these exercises strengthen your heart and lungs. If you are easily bored, do one exercise for 10 minutes and then try another.

Strengthening. Who said strength had to do with using heavy weights? Try ‘Dynamic Tension’ – a method of strengthening, conditioning and toning. All you have to do is flex and hold a particular muscle for about seven seconds at a time. Try doing this with all your major muscles and your heart will beat like never before.

Weight training. If you want to use weights, begin with a pair of two-kilogramme dumbbells to do forearm and bicep curls, shoulder presses, bent-over rows, lunges and squats. Start by doing two to three sets of each with six to eight repetitions.

For people who have are suffering from a medical condition, consult your physician before attempting strenuous physical activity.

– Stephan Andrew
The writer is a bodybuilding champion, an  open water diver and a strength and fitness enthusiast.

Fist published in the Health Advertiser of THE DAWN National Weekend Advertiser on February 9, 2014.