If you want to keep your heart healthy, there are many things that you would think of in your quest to promote the same. Foods that lower cholesterol and have high levels of “healthy fats” like LDL’s will begin to feature largely on your shopping list. You may even think of exercise as a way to keep the old ticker healthy but probably the exercise we are talking about would be about those in the cardio variety like aerobics or swimming. We all know that preventative treatment is better than dealing with the disease manifestation. If you are relatively young and healthy and are looking for ways to increase your heart’s health, look no further than ice hockey. The reasons why ice hockey is great for your heart are outlined below:
Studies show that there is a strong correlation between stress and increased chances of cardiac arrest. If you work in a high pressure environment and you need to release all that stress, put on a pair of skates and head to the ice hockey rink. The competitiveness of ice hockey can release adrenaline in your hormone which is a fight or flight hormone responsible for regulating heart rate. It is used by physicians to treat cardiac arrests, so you know it must be good for your heart. You also get to relax your mind and forget for a while the pressures of your everyday life. When you are done, you will probably be too tired to obsess over the things that are not going well in your life.
Increased distribution of oxygen to your body
If you take a break in between your whizzing across the ice, you will probably notice that your heart rate has increased. That is because your heart is pumping faster. The advantage of this is that much needed oxygenated blood is pumped from the heart and lungs to other parts of the body. This pumping action of the heart also strengthens the heart muscles.
Weight loss and muscle gain
Once you have played hockey for a while, your body will convert extra fat into muscles. You will invariably shape up and develop better strength, while possibly losing weight. A lighter body not only makes it easier for your heart to perform its functions but it also reduces health problems related to your respiratory tract. Since ice hockey includes strength training and muscle toning, your body will become stronger and leaner over time.
Now, if you have two left feet when it comes to skating, you probably would not do very well on ice hockey. You can take some lessons to hone your skills or you can decide to go for field hockey instead which is not only played on a more stable surface, but also has similar health benefits to its icy counterpart.
Before beginning any exercise regimen, it is always wise to consult a physician. If they consider you healthy enough to begin the regimen, then go ahead. Pace yourself so that you do not over exert yourself and of course, invest in protective gear!