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About Cardiovascular Training

The benefits of aerobic exercises are most specific to the cardiovascular and respiratory systems.  A regular aerobic exercise program will significantly improve the efficiency in which the body performs. Generally, physiological benefits occur with a well-planned 12-week program of at least 3 times per week. Each week of no aerobic training, you will lose 7% of your cardiovascular capacity.


Aerobic Training…

-  Increases the thickness of the cartilage in your joints

-  Increases fat burning during exercise

-  Strengthens your heart

-  Lowers heart rate

-  Lowers blood pressure

-  Increases the body’s ability to use oxygen

-  Lowers blood sugar

-  Increases energy and improves mood

-  Helps you sleep better

-  Helps the body to resist upper respiratory track infection

-  Enables persons to achieve an improved quality of life

-  Relieves stress

-  Improves cardiac efficiency

-  Lowers resting heart rate

-  Improves breathing capacity

-  Improves your heat tolerance


Definition of Aerobics 

Using the same large muscle group, rhythmically, for a period of 15 to 20 minutes or longer while maintaining 60 - 80% of your maximum heart rate. Think of aerobic activity as being long in duration yet low in intensity. Aerobic activities include: walking, biking, jogging, swimming, aerobic classes and cross-country skiing. Anaerobic activity is short in duration and high in intensity. Anaerobic activities include: racquetball, downhill skiing, weight lifting, sprinting, softball, soccer and football. Aerobic means with air or oxygen. You should be able to carry on a short conversation while doing aerobic exercise. If you are gasping for air while talking, you are probably working anaerobically. When you work anaerobically, you will tire faster and are more likely to experience sore muscles after exercise is over. 


Cardio Exercise Frequency

Cardiovascular fitness is an ongoing process and requires consistent reinforcement. To maintain your current level of fitness you should do aerobic exercise at least 3 times a week. To increase your level of fitness, try exercising 4 to 5 times per week.


Measuring Heart Rate

Rate of Perceived Exertion (RPE) may be the most versatile method to measure exercise intensity for all age groups. Using this method is simple, because all you have to do is estimate how hard you feel like you’re exerting yourself during exercise. RPE is a good measure of intensity because it is individualized - it’s based on your current fitness level and overall perception of exercise. The scale ranges from 1 to 10, allowing you to rate how you feel physically and mentally at a given intensity level.


10   Maximal exertion

9     Very hard 

8     Extremely hard

7     Hard (heavy)


5     Somewhat hard

4     Fairly light

3     Light

2     Very light

1     Rest 


An RPE between 5 and 7 is recommended for most adults. This means that at the height of your workout, you should feel you are working “somewhat hard” to “hard.”  


Interval Training 

A simple definition of Interval Training is: short, high-intensity exercise periods alternated with periods of recovery. These higher and lower intensity periods are  repeated several times to form a complete workout.  A basic example is walk for 5 minutes at 3.5 MPH, walk 1 minute at 4.2 MPH and then repeat this sequence several times.  If you want a workout that can help propel you to the next fitness level, burn more calories, increase your speed, improve your power and performance, then interval training 2 times per week is recommended.  

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