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Doc Talk: Top 3 cardiac conditioning exercises from Dr. John Williams

When looking for a good cardiac conditioning workout, Dr. John Williams with Nashville Medical Group at Saint Thomas Midtown Hospital suggests sticking to the basics:  swimming, biking and running. 

Each of these exercises allows you to vary the intensity of your workout throughout. 

  • Swimming uses a variety of muscles: arms, legs, shoulders, glutes and more.  In addition to working your heart, your lungs will also strengthen as you swim. While allowing you to gradually increase your heart rate, swimming is great for people dealing with injuries.  It’s low impact and can be very meditative. 
  • Biking or cycling can be done indoors on a stationary bike or outdoors on a regular bicycle.  Cycling builds strength and muscle tone gradually, with little risk of over exercise or strain.  As you stamina increases so does your cardio-vascular fitness. It’s also a great calorie burner: steady cycling can burn about 300 calories per hour.  Higher-intensity spin classes have been known to burn 600 calories per hour.
  • Running is one of the most basic forms of exercises.  It can be done anywhere: treadmill, outside or in-place.  The equipment required can be minimal, as little as shoes and socks, but the benefits are numerous.  Research has shown that running can raise your good cholesterol levels while increasing lung function.  In addition, running can reduce the risk of having stroke and is often recommended for patients in the early stages of diabetes, high blood pressure and osteoporosis.  

If you are looking to improve your overall health and lose weight, add one (or all three) of the above exercises to your routine.  It’s always recommended to consult a physician before beginning a new exercise regimen.    

Need a primary care physician to talk to about your exercise habits or other health concerns? Call 1-800-DOCTORS for a free physician referral.  

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