Monthly Archives: June 2012

Cardiovascular Workouts

There are 3 components in a comprehensive fitness plan.  They are: Cardiovascular exercise, Resistance Exercise, and Flexibility.  All 3 components have different risks, and injuries that can happen, but, fortunately, when a well thought out and intelligent approach is used following a fitness program is very safe.  Lets begin by discussing cardiovascular exercise and the best way to do it.

When you are doing cardio, you are trying to do 2 things.  #1 you are strengthening your heart, lungs, the rest of your cardiovascular system, and improving how your body utilizes oxygen.  #2-you are burning calories.  The key to your cardiovascular workouts is to do intervals.  Why intervals?  Let me use an example to illustrate.  Picture yourself driving down the freeway.  The speed limit is 70 and you’re crusin.  In terms of gas mileage you’re getting highway miles, right?  Your car is running efficiently, so it’s not using a lot of gas.  The same thing happens with YOUR body when you are doing cardio at a moderate, constant intensity.  Your body hits what is called your steady state heart rate.  This is where your body is running efficiently.  You’re up to speed and your crusin, generally, it’s a comfortable spot to be.  Training in this fashion is better than doing nothing, but there are better, smarter, more effective ways to spend your time exercising.  So if you were to go back to our theoretical drive down the highway and instead of crusin at 70 you were to speed up to 70, then slow down to 35, then speed up to 80 then slow down to 35 then speed up to 90, etc. you’d use a lot more gas right?  This is the perfect illustration to show why intervals are the smartest, most effective way to do the majority of your cardiovascular workouts.

For my next post, I will give some more specific information on how to use intervals to get the most out of the time you spend doing cardio.  The reality is that most people who exercise do too much cardio.  More on that in my next post, thanks for reading!