Any exercise will do as long as that gets its rate up and keeps it there for at least 20 to 30 minutes. That generally means any aerobic activity, whether its running, swimming, cycling, or brisk walking. The best exercise for the heart are those that sustain our heart rate for a long time. Consider doing aerobics workouts several days a week and combining them with strength training, yoga, or Pilates. Your cardiovascular system will reap the rewards, and so will the rest of your body.
The right intensity when it comes to our heart is working out harder isn't necessarily better. You should aim for moderate intensity 50 to 70 percent of your maximum heart rate. A more vigorous pace won't do any damage, but you won't be able to keep it up for a long period of time. And sustaining the elevated rate is what benefits you. You're better off doing 30 minutes of moderate exercise than 10 minutes of hard exercise.
How to know if we are in the right intensity? Here's how Think of a scale from 1 to 10 with 1 being the slowest possible exercise pace and 10 the most vigorous. Aim for an intensity of 6 or 7 so your working hard but not exhausting yourself. Or crunch some numbers: To find your target heart rate, subtract your age from 220 and multiply the result by 0.6 (for moderately intense activity). That's what you should shoot for.
Can exercising too hard cause a heart attack? If you're already fit no. But if you've been sedentary, doing too much too fast can put undue strain on our heart, the same way it can in any muscle. If you haven't been exercising at all, clear it with your doctor first. Then gradually increase how much you do.