Love Your Heart: Cardiovascular Training

JUST MOVE! Just 30 minutes a day can decrease your risk of heart disease. There is no need to jump on a treadmill and sprint, moderate exercise of 150 minutes a week is recommended by the American Heart Association. If sprinting is your style, you only need 75 minutes of vigorous activity a week to see similar health results.

Moderate vs. Vigorous Activity. 

Target Hear Rate Chart

Exercise intensity can be determined based on your heart rate, breathing rate and how you feel. The higher your heart rate and breathing rate rise, the harder you are working. A heart rate monitor can be purchased to quickly determine your heart rate during exercise. The American Council on Exercise provides a quick tool to estimate target  heart rate zones based on your age and fitness level. Find My Target Heart Rate

If you don’t have a heart rate monitor, you can determine the intensity based on how you feel, known as your rate of perceived exertion or RPE. RPE is based on how YOU feel doing a particular exercise. Depending on your fitness level, certain exercises may feel vigorous for one person and moderate for another. Use the following chart to determine your level of activity.


Heart Healthy Exercise

Any movement will provide some benefit for your heart. However, 30 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity on most days of the week provides additional benefits for combating heart disease. Cardiovascular exercise causes the heart rate to increase and over time creates physiological changes that decrease your risk for heart disease. Exercise does not have to take place at a gym or on a piece of equipment. Taking a walk outdoors, hiking, swimming, and biking are excellent ways to fit your cardio into your routine. You can even complete exercises indoors. There are many online programs available for working out from home, some are even free. Check out these videos at Fitness Blender.

If you are heading to the gym, there are many options available. If your gym offers group fitness classes, check out some of these and ask an employee for the best classes for you! If you belong to a pool or have a pool, swimming and aqua aerobics are fabulous ways to get your cardio training without impact on the joints. Below is a sample cardiovascular workout plan using the treadmill, bike, or elliptical. Both steady state and interval training will provide heart health benefits. Steady state keeps your heart rate and work load consistent throughout the worlout. Interval training pushes your heart rate and work load up for a short period time with periods of recovery in between. Interval training has the added benefit of increasing your fitness level at a greater rate, decreasing boredom, and burning more calories. Interval training can be completed by beginners and expert level exercisers. Be sure to listen to your body and how you feel during exercise.

cardio chart

Love Your Heart: Cardio

Cardiovascular training is integral to improving your heart health. Many physiological effects occur when you exercise your heart. Your heart becomes stronger and can pump more blood, quicker throughout the body, your arteries open up, and blood distribution becomes much more efficient. These physiological adaptions lead to a lower resting heart rate, a decrease in blood pressure, and an increase in endurance. Incorporating just a few minues a day of cardiovascular exercise can have big effects on your health health. What will you do to show your heart some love?

For More Information Visit: The American Heart Association’s Fitness Page

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