The most common form of exercise done today is Cardio Training (Aerobic), and another name for this is Cardiovascular or Cardio-respiratory training. Cardio Training will increase your Oxygen Uptake and your Cardiac Output in proportion to your intensity. Performed over a prolonged period of time this training will improve your overall fitness.
For you to gain the full benefits that this training has to offer, you are recommended to participate for a period of 30 – 40 minutes and do this 3 - 4 times a week. Studies have shown that you can benefit from this exercise with improved heart function and lung capacity.
The best way to start is slowly; gradually building up your intensity over-time. This helps your body adjust to the increases in demand that you are placing upon it. This also gives you the opportunity to psychologically prepare for your training sessions and give yourself a better understanding of what to expect. This in turn provides you with a better foundation to work from and a much greater chance to enjoy cardio training and not surrender to it. As the old say goes “You have to walk before you can run”.
In addition to the well-documented health benefits that it has to offer you can also control your weight far better. I don’t like the notion of “Burning Fat” it gives people the impression that when you exercise your body will just melt the fat off and that is not the case.
I can tell you that your body will use more glycogen stores from your muscles. This is replenished from your intake of complex carbohydrates. So in a nutshell “When you use a greater amount of kilojoules to perform exercise than what you consume from your food (kilojoule) intake”, that’s when your body needs to replenish its energy from body fat stores.
Your fitness level can be measured and this is called your Maximal Oxygen Uptake or Max VO2. This is a measure of how much oxygen your muscles are able to use during exercise. The greater the amount used is an indicator of an increased fitness level. There are calculations and graphs that can guide you through the process but basically all you really need to concentrate on is the indisputable fact that “an increased activity level will produce an increase in fitness.
WHICH ACTIVITY DO YOU CHOOSE?
The answer to this question will depend on your likes and dislikes, what inspires you, as well as your initial fitness level. You cannot attempt to run a marathon, if you cannot walk around your block. As already stated, start out gradually and build up your Cardio Training and choose an activity that you will enjoy. Let’s look at some options,
Jogging / Running
Swimming / Water Aerobics
These activities can be easily done from your home and offer varying degrees of difficulty. Pick the one that you know will challenge you and that you can vary with different Cardio Training sessions. There are other activities that you can try but these often require an expensive piece of equipment, like Rowing machines, Elliptical trainers and Treadmills. If you happen to have access to one of these, you will achieve great results when they are used correctly.
HOW CAN YOU VARY YOUR CARDIO TRAINING?
In the early stages there won’t be a need to change anything, just get out there and have a go, that’s the main thing. Become familiar with your chosen activity and gradually build up from there. Once you have a basic fitness level in place you can introduce some variables into your sessions. For instance you could do some Interval Workouts, this simply means that you change your pace at a predetermined time and hold that intensity for another predetermined time.
You may Swim for instance, here you could do a set number of laps using only a kick board and then change to a set number of laps doing a chosen stroke (freestyle or butterfly). Keep on alternating between the two and this will increase and decrease your intensity and studies have shown that Interval Workouts can improve your fitness the quickest.
Another alternative is to try some Cross Training. This entails doing some cardio training in multiple ways. Here you might try a week of Fitness Walking and then a week of Cycling and then a week of Aerobics. Each are excellent cardio workouts but alternating between them provides you with varying intensities and variety. This way you can increase you fitness without getting stale.
This next choice is basically a combination of the first two (interval workouts and cross training). This option is called Circuit Training and it provides excellent time efficient training. What you can do is set up a number of workout stations and these can be a combination of aerobic and resistance training exercises.
For instance you may have 10 exercises, 5 aerobic and 5 resistance. You perform each one for a set duration of time, let’s say 90 seconds.
It might look a little like this,Jogging on the spot.Push upsSkipping Rope (with or without a rope)LungesShadow BoxingTricep DipsStar JumpsSeated RowsStep upsBicep Curls
This is just an example of what you can do and you can alternate the exercises or simply change their order to keep varying your Cardio Training. The other necessary ingredients to made this a success is to have a timer that will indicate to you your time to change stations and some great
Your Cardio Training intensity is an important factor that will affect your performance and results. Too high and you’ll increase the likelihood of Overtraining, too low and you won’t achieve the results that you are desire and deserve.
Your training intensity will be dependant on “What you are training for”. Ask yourself this, Is it Increased Fitness, Endurance or Weight Loss?, each will have their own optimum training intensity. Ideally you would use a range of 60% - 80% of your Max Heart Rate.
Click here if you would like additional information on ”Training Heart Rates”
THERE’S ALWAYS A TIME TO PUT YOUR FEET UP.
The only other issue that you have to factor in is your Rest and Recovery. Your body requires adequate time to recover from intensive exercise, time for your muscles to replenish, refuel and repair themselves between workouts.
Some symptoms of Overtraining can be,Loss of PerformanceDecreased MotivationChronic FatigueInsomniaChronic SorenessIncreased Body FatIncreased Heart Rate exercising and at restIncreased Blood PressureInjurySusceptibility to Illness
Overtraining can be caused by,Too much volume of exerciseToo high an intensity of exerciseNot enough rest between Training SessionsMonotonous training, Plateauing and a lack of Motivation
If you do notice signs of Overtraining then you may want to try some of these Recovery Techniques.Don’t continue with the same routine, change your Volume, Intensity or TechniqueGet sufficient sleepEnsure your diet is adequateMassageTry introducing a Relaxation TechniqueRemember this rule,
“You don’t get better by Training, you get better by Recovering from Training”
Warm up and Cool down
at the beginning and end of your Cardio Training, that way you will be doing your best to prevent injuries and post training muscle soreness. Also when you include some stretching as well you will be increasing your flexibility and your muscle’s range of motion, this is particularly important for Males as they have very poor flexibility compared to women. So take up the challenge and S-t-r-e-t-c-h.
When you take advantage of both Resistance Training and Cardio Training, you’ll achieve a balance in both your aerobic fitness and your strength and muscle tone.
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