I know, I know, some of us are not that fond of cardio. But for those of us who are a little resistant to the thought of getting our heart rate up and breaking a sweat, take a moment to remember all the benefits of cardiovascular exercise:
Stronger heart and lungs
Increased bone density
Reduced risk of heart disease and some types of cancer
Temporary relief from depression and anxiety
More confidence about how you feel and how you look
Setting a good example for your kids to stay active as they get older
There are lots of ways to achieve good cardiovascular health.
elliptical, cycling, and treadmill machines.
Not looking so boring now- is it.
Keep it simple!
You don't have to watch your pulse and buy a meter and hook your shoes up to your phone in the beginning. What you want to start out with is a nice, mild burn in your muscles. If you can't carry on a normal conversation because you're breathing too hard, then you're over-doing it. Slow it down. Become aware of all of the sensations going on inside your body as you work out.
You're not gonna get a gold in your first week of training!
There is a learning curve with all new activities. Your muscles have to develop. The neurons in your brain have to build new pathways. Your organs have to adapt to and accommodate this new activity. That is the whole point. So, enjoy the burn and the adjustment period, it means it's working! You are strengthening your heart, circulatory, and respiratory systems. Added bonus - cardio is great for losing weight and cleansing too.
Warm it up and cool it off!
Make sure you take a couple of minutes and warm up in the exercise of your choice. At the end of your cardio session take a couple of minutes to cool down as well. Abrupt changes are hard on the body and can produce stiff, painful joints that can prevent you from hopping back into it the next day.
Stretching helps warm up our muscles and gets the blood flowing before a workout. This doesn't have to be a prolonged activity. Focus on a simple overall body stretch and then a few minutes of concentrated stretching of the muscles you're going to use the most. Repeat at the end of your workout routine to prevent soreness and stiffness. This helps the body eliminate the lactic acid produced by exercise and leaves you feeling great for your session the next day.
Cross country skiing
To get the most out of a cardio workout, we start by figuring out our maximum heart rate (beats per minute). To do that, subtract your age from 226 for women or 220 for men. For example, the maximum heart rate for a 45 year old woman is: 226-45 = 181. Now, we don't want to workout at our maximum heart rate. The American Heart Association suggests we reach and maintain 50% to 75% of the maximum heart rate for our age. This is called the target heart rate zone. Aim more towards 50% if you are just getting in shape and more toward 75% if you are in great shape.
A general suggestion for cardio workouts is 20 minutes to maintain weight and 20 plus minutes to lose weight. Find out what works for you as each body is different. This is where you get to have fun and try new things.
For more information try a Google search for cardio exercises, cardio workout guidelines, and cardio basics.