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Cardio: Why and How!

We are celebrating 40 years of health and fitness at The Academy! To help celebrate this achievement we are taking you back through the decades starting with the 80’s.

The 80’s saw a rise in cardiovascular training as aerobics was brought in as a household name. As celebrities such as Jane Fonda got behind the movement aerobics continued to become more and more popular. Today cardio training includes so much more than just aerobics and welcomes all to participate!

What is cardio?

Cardio training is the purposeful movement with the goal of increasing your cardiovascular or aerobic capacity. A great place to start is with 15 minutes of cardio at a constant moderate level of intensity, working your way up to both longer times and a higher intensity. Popular cardio exercises include walking, jogging, rowing, running, swimming, and cycling.

Why is cardio important?

Cardio training improves the heart’s ability to pump oxygen-rich blood to the muscles and plays a large role in the overall health of the body. When consistently using cardio in your training program you may experience changes such as increased blood flow to muscles, increased oxygen in the blood, increased blood volume, lowered heart rate, lowered blood pressure, lowered chance of disease such as some cancers, cardiovascular and type 2 diabetes.

What to consider when creating a cardio program

There are 4 things to take into consideration when building your program:

Mode – This can be altered to your likes and dislikes as well as ability level and refers to the type of cardio exercise you will be doing. I.E. Biking, running, walking, swimming etc.

Frequency – This refers to the number of cardio sessions you have per week. Training 2-5 times per week is sufficient, the frequency will also depend on the intensity of your cardio sessions as well as any other training you may be doing in conjunction.

Duration – Relating directly to each cardio session, strive for 15-60 minutes.

Intensity – You can measure intensity using a heart rate monitor, counting your pulse, or simply using your oxygen intake. For optimal cardio training you should be exercising between 60-90% of your maximal heart rate. To find this you can take 220-(your age), for example a 30-year old’s maximum heart rate should be 190. (220-30=190) We have included link to a target heart rate calculator for convenience.

To use your oxygen intake as a marker of intensity you will monitor your breaths. Staying in Zone 1 which is generally up to 50% of your max heart rate you want to be able to hold a conversation with an extra breath every 3-4 words. Training in zone 2 which is generally 60-80% of your max heart rate you shouldn’t be able to talk as you will need to focus on your breathing.

If you have more questions, please contact to chat with one of our experts.

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