Try These Easy Exercises To Test Your Heart Health At Home

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It can be a scary thought to visit a doctor these days, but there are still ways you can take charge of your fitness from home.

A lot of us suffer from vague anxieties about our health. Who here hasn’t had a headache and turned to WebMD to find out they have brain cancer or terminal encephalitis? Although the internet is riddled with fake news and bizarre fad diets and exercise trends that offer you too good to be true results, don’t panic: there are still ways you can take charge of your health that are based on science and are actually fairly simple.

Here are a few ways you can test your heart health from home without a trip to the doctor’s office.

How fast can you climb four flights of stairs?

A recent study done by the European Society of Cardiology found that being able to climb four flights of stairs in less than a minute is a clear indicator of good heart health.

“The stairs test is an easy way to check your heart health,” said study author Dr. Jesús Peteiro, a cardiologist at University Hospital A Coruña, Spain. “If it takes you more than one-and-a-half minutes to ascend four flights of stairs, your health is sub-optimal, and it would be a good idea to consult a doctor.”

Patients who were asked to climb four flights of stairs in under a minute and were unable to do so were far more likely to have undiagnosed coronary artery disease. If you have stairs in your house, this is a great and easy way to quickly test if your heart is relatively healthy. If you’re not able to complete this exercise, it may be a sign that something is up. However, there are many other ways you can measure your heart health from home.

Invest in an at-home blood pressure cuff or pulse monitor.

These are tools used by doctors to gather valuable metrics on the health of your heart that you can easily have in your own home. Blood pressure cuffs and pulse monitors can be used to check your heart rate and pulse before and after you work out. This can help you figure out if you’re in the optimal range for your age, gender, and weight group or not. This is also even more accurate than the stair test because it provides you with actual diagnostic criteria to understand how your heart is working.

This is obviously most relevant for those of us who work out with heart disease, but everyone can benefit from learning more about how their workouts affect their bodies. You might be surprised that your blood pressure is higher after working out than you realized — 1 in 5 adults who have high blood pressure have no symptoms and would never know without a blood pressure cuff check.

Do you find yourself getting out of breath during aerobic exercises?

This probably comes as a surprise to no one but aerobic exercises are some of the best for improving your heart health. Aerobic exercises improve the circulation of blood through your body and directly reduce your blood pressure and heart rate.

Although not as specific as the stairs test, aerobic exercises can be a great general indicator of your heart health. For example, if you find yourself unexpectedly out of breath during light aerobic exercise, you may have an underlying heart condition. This is also true if you feel extremely tired out by a light amount of aerobic exercise — there may not be enough oxygen in your blood traveling to your muscles. This isn’t an indicator alone that something is wrong, but it is something to keep an eye on.

With these three tricks in your back pocket, it should be easy to keep track of your heart health from home. But they aren’t a substitute for a real doctor if you are showing signs of having heart problems, so do make an appointment to see your doctor if it seems like something is wrong.

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