Cardiovascular training is all form of exercise that improves the functional capacity of our cardiorespiratory system (heart, lungs and blood vessels).
Cardiovascular or aerobic training must include, at the very least, three essential factors: Low to medium intensity training, for 20 consecutive minutes, 3 times a week. Aerobic means (with oxygen) – this means that the exercise is performed under circumstances where there is enough oxygen in the muscles.
Cardiovascular exercise comprises numerous forms of activities, because all activities performed at a moderate level of intensity over a relatively long period of time fall into the aerobic category. Aerobic training, besides its cardiovascular benefits is also useful in helping us lose weight. But the guidelines here bid for moderate activity five days per week in order to affect fat loss.
Examples of top activities included in cardiovascular fitness are walking, jogging, cycling, aerobic dance, swimming, circuit training and skiing. But the list can go on and on, as long as it fits the mold of the 3 essential factors of intensity, duration and frequency. The most important thing with this form of training is that you stick to it over time and make it a part of your weekly routine based on the grounds that you find it rewarding and fun.
Since the benefits of a cardiovascular training program are so many, it is worth spending some quality time planning and choosing what's best for you according to your present condition, medical history, age, gender and other important considerations.
Remember that cardiovascular diseases claim more lives each year than the next five leading causes of death combined. And physical inactivity is a significant risk factor with regard to CAD.
Cardiovascular health is directly related to how long and how high your heart rate is elevated under training. Most people should maintain 65% to 85% of their maximum predicted heart rate for the workout to be most effective. This is known as the target heart rate zone. To determine your zone, first subtract your age from 220. This will estimate your maximum heart rate. Then simply multiply that number by 0.65 or 0.85. For example, if you are 50 years old, your maximum heart rate is 170 bpm (beats per minute). The low end of your zone (65%) would be 111 bpm, and the high end (85%) would be 145 bpm.
There are inverse relationships between intensity, duration, and frequency of exercise. If you have the endurance to swim laps vigorously for 20 minutes, you can meet your aerobics quota in 3 days per week.
If you prefer (or are limited to) brisk walking, you will probably need to put in six days a week for 45 minutes. Activities that keep your heart rate constantly pushing the high end of your zone can be performed for less time and fewer days per week.
However, if you currently do not engage in any physical activity, you should start with just 15-20 minutes of moderate exercise, 6 days per week. Add just one or two minutes a day to your routine until you can tolerate 50-60 minutes of continuous activity. Longer duration aerobics at a lower level of intensity (50% to 70% of maximum heart rate) actually helps the body adjust to burning fat rather than sugar as a fuel source. As your fitness level increases and you drop a few pounds, you can adjust your program to a higher intensity, shorter duration, and less frequency.
- Heart Walk
- Cardiovascular Fitness: Long Walks Are Beneficial; Medicine 2 life
- Aerobic Training; Lene Gilkrog.
- Benefits and Limitations of Cardiovascular Training; Mark Love (www.vertexfit.com).
- Fat Loss 101: Aerobic Training; JD Doyle.
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