The 3 Commandments Of Cardio Training

By Raymond Onyango.

When it comes to cardiovascular exercise, there are two types of people The enthusiasts, who can go on all day and the disinclined, those who are averse to any form of cardiovascular exercise and would rather have a tooth extracted without anesthesia than spend 20 minutes on a treadmill. Whichever the case, the fact of the matter is that we all need to accumulate at least 20 to 30 minutes of cardiovascular exercise every single day. There is a growing mountain of evidence to support the fact that engaging regularly in cardiovascular exercise is a major form of insurance against virtually all lifestyle related diseases including, hypertension, diabetes and cancer, but of even greater interest to the majority of us is the fact maintaining a lifestyle that crates ample opportunities for engaging in cardiovascular exercise, is still the most effective way to shed unwanted weight and enhance your physical appeal.

By definition, an exercise qualifies to be referred to as cardiovascular if it if it has the following 3 attributes

a. It should be sustained over a period of 15 minutes or more. If it’s too short in duration it does not really tax your cardiovascular system enough to convey many of the life saving benefits of sustained cardio.

b. It should be rhythmic involving a consistent pattern of lower or upper body movement as is the case with activities like running, cycling, swimming, squash, soccer and many others.

c. It should elevate your heart rate and increase your rate of breathing. A majority of the benefits of cardiovascular exercise can be ascribed to these two factors and the adaptations they inspire in the body’s vital organs including the heart and lungs.

Unfortunately there are an overwhelming number of myths about cardiovascular exercise that persist out there, clouding our judgment and often times leading us astray, which is why I set about today to outline to you, the facts you need to know about cardiovascular exercise, so that you can get the most out of it.

Warm Up

Number 1 on your list is common sense; warm up! Warming up means preparing your body for the workout ahead. Physiologically warming up allows your circulatory system to pump oxygen rich blood to your working muscles, preparing them for the increased demands of exercise. Specialized glands in your joints step up the production of a special lubrication fluid, known as synovial fluid – reducing friction in the joints and protecting them from injury. Your tendons and ligaments become more elastic as your body temperature rises with the warm up improving your range of motion – cold muscles don’t absorb impact or stain as well as warm muscles.

On a mental level, the warm up allows you o leave the office and life behind and concentrate on the moment. It gives you the opportunity size up your potential on that particular day and decide weather to up the tempo or go easy. All around the warm up helps you to prepare both mentally and physically for exercise and reduces the chance for injury – so why would you fight with that? My own personal rule is that your warm up must take up a quarter of the total time you dedicate to a cardio workout. For instance a 20-minute workout should include a mandatory 5-minute substantive warm up. You will exercise injury free for years!

Hit your Cruising Altitude

The entire purpose of the warm up is to get you up to your cruising altitude. Your cruising altitude also known, as the aerobic zone is the point at which your heart rate is approximately 65 to 85% of its theoretical maximum. Did I loose you there? Lets go over that again, on a scale of 0 to 10, with zero being the amount of effort you expend while sitting on the couch watching telly, and 10 being the amount of effort you expend when running for your life, after a close encounter with a street thug on a dark night you want to work somewhere between level 6 and 8. You should be able to answer to your name but you shouldn’t find it possible to hold a conversation.

At this point a number of things happen, Your ejection fraction – the amount of blood your heart pumps out with each beat increases, getting much needed oxygen to hard working muscles. Your heart rate – the number of times your heart beats in a minute rises from an average of 72 beats per minute (bpm) to as high as 150 bpm or more depending on your age and the intensity of the exercise. Given that your heart is a muscle and responds to exercise like any other muscle, elevating you heart rate in this manner makes the heart stronger and more efficient at its job – the trade off for you is that you live longer and probably sidestep heart disease altogether.

All this activity needs to be fueled, and the body’s preferred source of fuel in this aerobic zone is fat or adipose tissue. This is the link between weight loss and cardiovascular exercise. At least half of your entire cardio workout should be spent within this zone. Your body only has a limited supply on energy stored in the muscles, and this is exhausted almost as soon as you begin to workout, so the body must generate more to keep you going. It does this by breaking down fat tissue in the presence of oxygen to yield the energy that keeps you moving. This is also the reason why your rate of breathing as mentioned earlier, is an important indicator of just how hard you are actually working; breathing faster during exercise is a sign that your body’s metabolism is revving up, consuming calories and planting you firmly on the path to leanness.

If you are pushing hard enough, you should work up a light sweat fairly easily. Sweating is a good thing, not because it melts away the fat (other wise, you would loose weight just sitting in the traffic on a hot afternoon) but because it is a great indicator of the speed of your metabolism. Heat is one of the by products of cellular metabolism, as your body converts fat to energy – heat is created. Some of this heat helps to catalyze the process but most of it has to be let go of, other wise the body would overheat to dangerous levels. You body accomplishes this by producing sweat, which cools down your body as it evaporates from your skin. The short of it; if you are working hard enough to sweat consistently for at least 50% of your cardio workout, you are definitely burning calories!

Prepare For Landing

Until quite recently cooling down was thought to be very instrumental in helping to flush out the lactic that accumulates in our muscles, but new research seems to suggest that cooling down has little if any effect on reducing muscle soreness after a workout. It seems that when it comes to fighting that next ay stiffness, a gradual warm up is actually the most powerful tool at your disposal. However, the one thing the scientific community agrees about cool downs is the fact that they encourage blood flow out of the muscles and allow the heart rate to come down quicker than it would if you just topped exercising immediately. When the body stops moving suddenly after intense exercise, blood can pool in the extremities especially the legs causing dizziness, nausea and even fainting – a gradual cool down will help you avoid this.

A slow reduction of pace over 5 to 10 minutes will do the trick. You may also want to consider an effective addition to your post workout routine in the form of a thoroughly stretching. Stretching has been shown to boost muscle recovery and help prevent stiffness after exercise, and it is best done when you are still warm and your muscles are in their most pliable state. You might also want to grab a carbohydrate rich snack within no more than 20-30 minutes after the end of your workout to help you replenish your blood sugar levels and avoid hypoglycemia – or low blood sugar. Carbohydrates eaten within a short period after exercise are readily synthesized to replace glycogen stores in your muscles and boost your immune system recovery.

Have a cardio intensive week will you!