Cardiovascular Exercise

Cardiovascular exercise is an absolute must if you want to be fit. If you easily lose your wind walking across the room or going up a flight of stairs, you should consider the addition of exercise to your fitness plan. 

The addition of exercise will strengthen your heart, lungs and allow your body to get the necessary blood and oxygen to your muscles essential for life’s small and larger tasks.

It will also strengthen your muscles, avoiding unnecessary injuries like "throwing out your back".

Heart Disease is the leading cause of death in the U.S. The addition of cardiovascular exercise to your routine can greatly reduce your chances of ever getting heart disease, diabetes, being obese, and many other life-threatening conditions.

In fact, the American Heart Association estimates that more than 250,000 lives could be saved every year with the addition of a proper exercise program.

Below are just a few of the benefits of an exercise routine.

Benefits of an Exercise Routine

  • Lose weight
  • Increased metabolism – See BMR calculator
  • Stronger heart – your heart rate will do more with less, lowering your heart rate!
  • Increased lung capacity
  • Decrease your body fat percentage
  • Reduces stress
  • Lowers blood pressure
  • Lowers LDL (bad) & increases HDL (good) cholesterol levels

As you can see the benefits of exercise are too good to pass up. Implementing an exercise plan that you can maintain for the long-term is the key to success.

If you try to do too much too soon, your plan probably won’t succeed. A gradual implementation and addition of different exercises will let your body get used to the rigors of exercise and handle the next challenge.

There are three components that you’ll need to address with your cardio exercise plan:

Three Components of an Exercise Plan

  1. Intensity
    Turning up the intensity too soon is the downfall of many workout programs. The best way to gauge intensity is our heart rate. For cardiovascular exercise, we want our heart rate to fall within 60-85% of our maximum heart rate, MHR. Click here for a heart rate calculator & heart rate information. You can measure your heart rate by taking your pulse on your neck, wrist, or temple for 10 seconds and then multiplying it by 6 for the beats per minute. The 60-85% heart rate range is considered aerobic which means that your muscles are burning fuel (glycogen) with oxygen. Anaerobic exercise is when our muscles burn fuel without oxygen – usually when our heart rate exceeds 90% of our MHR. Anaerobic exercise can only be endured for a very short period of time – such as a sprint.
  2. Duration
    After 20 minutes of aerobic exercise your muscles will convert from burning mostly glycogen to burning mostly fat. Therefore, you should try to get your cardiovascular exercise routine up to 30-60 minutes per workout to burn fat. This will increase your endurance, stamina, and metabolism. If your time to exercise is hard to come by, try squeezing in a few smaller workouts throughout the day.
  3. Frequency
    When you first start your exercise routine, try to get at least three (3) workouts in each week. As you get into better shape, try increasing the frequency to 5 or 6 workouts per week. Make sure that you rest after high-intensity workouts. Your cardiovascular system will get stronger during the rest periods as it rebuilds and strengthens your heart, lungs, arteries, and muscles.

Cardiovascular exercise is a critical element of your fitness plan and a worthwhile life habit. You can walk, run, do a combination of basic exercises, or even use a piece of fitness equipment such as an elliptical, treadmill, rowing machine, or exercise bike for aerobic exercise.

Best of luck with the implementation of your plan…and enjoy the added quantity and quality of your life!

Return from Cardiovascular Exercise to the Basic Exercises page

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Elliptical Guide

Treadmill Guide

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