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The Benefits of Cardiovascular Exercise



The first benefit would be that it strengthens both the heart muscle and the muscles involved in breathing such as the lungs. Not only can we carry out sustained periods of exertion with minimal discomfort there are also physiological benefits such as reducing ones blood pressure, increased resting metabolism to burn fat, and the release of endorphins to the brain which gives us a general feeling of well being decreasing the chance or warding off depression and anxiety. The list can go on and on. What you need to know is that the health benefits of getting into a good cardiovascular state are numerous.

Before we begin looking at different activities to increase your cardiovascular fitness some basic principles need to be shared. In order to illicit a change in the body one needs to stress their body to a state where the heart is beating at a rate equivalent to at least 75% of the age predicted maximum heart rate with an aim to getting to 85%. For the beginners out there it is important that you do not try to overdue it. It takes time for the body to make changes and by overdoing it you put your body at risk, never mind not enjoying the exercise. Choose an activity that you will enjoy doing. It doesn't have to be getting on to an elliptical machine or treadmill unless you enjoy doing that type of activity. Depending on your current level fitness, a power walk outside may be all you need to get the heart going. You could also go for a run outside, ride a bike, climb stairs, go swimming, inline skating, go for a hike, play tennis, or even play with the kids outside. I'm sure you can think of some other activities from here that can get your heart rate up and keep it up. The time requirement will vary depending on the intensity that you are working out but in general you will want to strive for 30-90 minutes on most days with the bare minimum being 30 minutes 3 times a week. If you find it too difficult to go for all 30 minutes all at once, break it up. Do 15 at one time and do 15 minutes another. This should only be for the beginners though. You should try to get to a point where 30 minutes of continuous exercise can be easily maintained. The Intensity with which you exercise is going to very widely depending on your starting fitness level. We have already discussed heart rate, but there are easier ways to determine if you are exercising hard enough without overdoing it. You could work off the scale of 10, where 1 is basically doing nothing and 10 is going all out. You will want to try to get to a 6-8. Beginners might only be able to go at these levels for short periods of time. That is alright as long as you try to work up over time to do more. If you have a workout partner, the easiest way to determine your intensity is to talk with your workout partner. If you are working out so hard that you can't keep a conversation going because you are too out of breath then you are working to hard. You should be exerting yourself but not killing yourself.

When you exercise, your heart and lungs have to work harder to supply your body with more oxygen for fuel. Over a given number of exercise sessions, your body needs less oxygen to perform the same level of exercise because you have built up your endurance and have become stronger. You would then increase the intensity of your workout. This builds your cardiovascular health.

The Simple Facts About Cardio Before we talk about how much cardio you should do, you should at least know why it's so important. Cardiovascular exercise simply means that you're involved in an activity that raises your heart rate to a level where you're working, but can still talk (aka, in your Target Heart Rate Zone). Here's why cardio is so important: It's one way to burn calories and help you lose weight It makes your heart strong so that it doesn't have to work as hard to pump blood It increases your lung capacity It helps reduce risk of heart attack, high cholesterol, high blood pressure and diabetes It makes you feel good It helps you sleep better It helps reduce stress

recommend to workout for 30-60 minutes most days of the week, but don't feel like you have to start at that level if you're not ready.

Keep in mind that doing too much cardio is a no-no as well and can actually backfire. There is a point of diminishing returns, so keep it reasonable (3-6 days a week, depending on your fitness level), vary your intensity and don't forget to take rest days when needed.


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Doing activity that requires moderate effort is safe for most people. But if you have a chronic health condition such as heart disease, arthritis, diabetes, or other symptoms be sure to talk with your doctor about the types and amounts of physical activity that are right for you.

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