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Have you ever wondered if frequent workouts can have harmful consequences to your body? Do your exercises sometimes seem not to give expected results? Are you exerting yourself more than you should?

Using a kettlebell instead of a dumbbell or any other piece of equipment can have more positive effects than one might think. As it seems like an extension of your hand, the very shape of the bell with a handle provides more flexibility in your motion, which therefore makes it more natural and healthy. In addition, better flexibility enables you to include your entire body in the workout.

The handle makes it easier to shift the kettlebell from one hand to another without a pause, which gives you continuous exercise for a longer period of time. Therefore, what you get is an intense cardio session, and the calorie burn equals the one that you get after running at a six-minute-mile pace. Moreover, the kettlebell workout is proven to be a lot healthier for your heart than lifting weights, plus it easily engages the entire body, which can cut the time spent at the gym by half.

So, Kettlebell Exercises are 100% Heart-Healthy, Right?

Let’s focus for a second on the harmful effects that weightlifting can have on your body. At low loads, your increased heart rate can handle your body’s circulatory demands, but as the loads enlarge, your muscles contract harder which results in dramatically increased blood pressure. It’s difficult for your heart to overcome this pressure (known as the afterload) to push blood into circulation.

When the weights get heavier, the lifter holds their breath and bends down to protect the spine, the well-known Valsalva maneuver, which might increase the person’s predisposition to cerebral hemorrhage (commonly known as stroke). But, is it all that bleak? Are kettlebell exercises good or bad for our health? Well, that, like most things in life, depends on whether or not you do it safely.

Don’t Underestimate (Healthy) Carbs

Healthy Carbs
Photo by Bodie Pyndus on Unsplash

Apart from balancing our workout sessions, we need to pay attention to our nutrition as well. As carbohydrates are frequently publicly bashed for being fattening, people started cutting down on the intake almost entirely, which results in a drastic loss of energy and can also have a hazardous effect on our brain. Carbohydrates found in fruits, beans, grains, milk products, and vegetables fuel our body and brain with necessary glucose.

If you go on a low-carb diet, your body might be forced to break down proteins for energy. When the proteins get used up, the muscles and their tissues are not appropriately supported for their functions and we might get hurt. So, the answer? Don’t separate from glucose and you’ll drop the risk significantly.

Do Consider Vitamins

Apart from carbohydrates, our body might not have enough of some other substances that lack in our diet. Vitamins and minerals help in heart disease prevention. Though, we usually fail to take enough through our regular nutrition; therefore it is a good idea to take them as a supplement, bearing in mind the dosage of course. In addition, coenzyme Q10 functions as an antioxidant, and although it is naturally present in the cells of our body, its quantities are usually insufficient.

Nutrients such as sardines, soy oil, beef, mackerel, and peanuts are rich in coenzyme Q10, but if you don’t get them regularly, it is probably best to take it as a supplement, as it helps in protecting the heart and skeletal muscles and speeds up recovery from exercise. The same thing stands for foods rich in fiber, omega-3 fatty acids, magnesium, L-carnitine; if not taken regularly and enough, it is a good idea to pick the right supplementation.

Small Dietary Additions Go a Long Way

One of the greatest ways to take care of the heart is to make some small changes that are easy to implement into our routine (not the ones for which you have to go out of your way to try and sustain). The advice is to take at least three cups of green tea per day, as it lowers cholesterol. Garlic is also beneficial when it comes to artery disease prevention and blood pressure control, so try and use it more frequently in meal preparations. To that purpose as well, the advice is to control the intake of choline, found in meat, eggs, and milk, as it raises the blood pressure and causes blood clotting, which can lead to a heart attack and stroke.

Moderation Has Always Been the Key

Image by Eurim from Pixabay

Apart from taking care of your diet and necessary supplementation, you should also adjust the intensity of your workouts. Trainers and specialists around the world agree that cardio exercises are irreplaceable when it comes to healthy heart preparation for strength training. So yes, kettlebells are actually great for your heart…unless you choose to harm yourself with exertion.

Always start your training with a necessary warm-up. If you decide to use weights, the advice is to start with minimal weight, and then gradually, as your muscles become stronger and your heart more prepared for additional effort, you can enlarge the load. To make sure that the intensity of your training is in coordination with your physical competence, it is a good idea to use a heart rate monitor. Many might consider it an unnecessary gadget, but if you don’t know how to steadily increase the intensity of your workouts without shocking your heart, this is your best bet. Using this tool, you can find out your limits and set target zones. It is useful when trying out new exercises and following your body’s feedback. Usually, 65-85% of your maximal heart rate is considered a good target zone.

It is always useful to remind ourselves that excess is never good. When it comes to staying healthy, discipline and self-control are critical. Your diet needs to be well adjusted to your body’s fitness and lifestyle. The same thing stands for your training; if exercises exceed your body’s limitations, they are hazardous more than beneficial to your health. The best way is to always listen to your body; it will tell you when the right time to slow down is.

Ryan Faucher

I'm a web designer and kettlebell enthusiast on a quest to lose fat, build muscles and live a healthier lifestyle. I truly believe that exercising with kettlebells in conjunction with dieting is the most effective and efficient way to reach this goal. If you have the will and motivation, there is no reason you can't do the same.
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