Exercise and heart health series: Endurance exercise


A good workout gets your heart pumping faster and leaves you sweaty and slightly out of breath while you bask in the afterglow of self-discipline and effort. Pair that with the endorphins that come with extended activity and you have endurance exercise at its finest.

Endurance exercise, also called aerobic exercise, is exercise that raises your heart and breathing rates for an extended period of time. Running, swimming, and cycling are all examples of endurance exercise. 

Endurance exercise doesn’t have to include running a marathon or swimming the English Channel to bring health benefits. According to the American Heart Association, 150 minutes a week of moderate activity or 75 minutes a week of vigorous activity is enough to improve your heart health.

It’s important to know how much is too much. More isn’t always better—even when it comes to exercise.

If that sounds like “a good start” but you’d like to push your limits beyond the minimum requirement, it’s important to know how much is too much. More isn’t always better—even when it comes to exercise.

Talk to your doctor before adding an endurance exercise regime to your schedule to outline pertinent health issues, medications that could affect your efforts and any other issues that could affect your exercise plans.

Here are a few of the pros and cons of endurance exercise and its effect on your heart’s health.

You want to be fit but you don’t want your exercise routine to do more harm than good. How do you know when you’re in the danger zone? 

Know the signs

Most people who have a health scare due to over-exercising have a preexisting heart condition or illness. The warning signs to watch for include:

  • Chest pain
  • Excessive shortness of breath (sports-related asthma)
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Difficulty completing a workout you’ve done in the past

If you have any red flags that indicate you’re doing too much, your doctor can help you determine the level of activity that will help you meet your fitness goals without putting your heart health at risk.

Find a doctor

Whether you’re starting a new exercise routine or increasing the intensity of your current workout, the team of experts at Providence can help you achieve your goals safely, without risk to your heart. If you are looking for a primary care doctor, you can search for one that’s right for you in our provider directory. Or you can find one using a regional directory below:






Related resources

Healthy Lifestyle Choices Help Prevent Dementia

Get a healthy heart on the run

Walking vs. exercise trends: They both win for women


About the Author

The Providence Heart & Vascular Team is committed to bringing you many years of expertise and experience to help you understand how to prevent, treat and recover from cardiovascular diseases and conditions. From tips to eating better to exercise and everything in between, our clinical experts know how to help you help your heart.

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