Cardio Workout Plans

Overview

The amount of time we spend on daily physical activity continues to decline. Regular physical activity improves health, energy levels and overall quality of life. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends adults 18 and older incorporate at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity cardiovascular activity into their regular weekly activities.

Benefits

Cardiovascular exercise includes any activity that increases your heart rate, such as running, walking, cycling and aerobics. Regular cardiovascular activity helps decrease your stress level, improve your mood, improve your sleep and improve heart and lung health. It decreases your risk of cardiovascular disease and enhances your immune system. Additionally, cardiovascular exercise is necessary to help control and maintain a healthy weight.

Intensity

Your cardio workout should incorporate aerobic and anaerobic activity based on specific goals. Aerobic activity includes activities such as training for a marathon. It entails anything that you do for long periods at a constant pace while carrying on a conversation. Sprinting or any activity that you can do for a short period before you need to stop qualifies as anaerobic activity. Not much talking takes place while doing anaerobic activity.

Frequency

Incorporate cardiovascular activity into your regular routine at least three days per week for a minimum of 30 minutes. Workout intensity dictates how long and how often you should participate in a cardio workout. The more intense and vigorous the workout, the shorter amount of time you need to spend. The frequency of your workout determines your success. Being consistent over time is most important.

Types

Cardiovascular activity includes any activity that uses the bigger muscle groups in your body, causing your heart rate to increase. Indoor activities include using the rowing machine, running, jogging or walking on the treadmill, riding the stationary upright or recumbent bike, the elliptical or some type of stair climber. Outside, you can participate in many of these same activities such as running, biking, climbing, hiking and kayaking. Find the best exercise for you.

Precautions

In cardiovascular exercise, you want to monitor your intensity level and base your workout on your health status. Make necessary modifications if you have any preexisting heart condition. If you’re new to exercise, participate in a low to moderate workout until you build a base level of fitness. Measure your heart rate or use the talk test to determine your intensity. Keep your heart rate within safe limits for your age group and gender. If you carry on a regular conversation without any difficulty, pick up the pace and vice versa.

About this Author

As the owner of Wellness Evolution, Lisa Martin has more than 10 years of experience in the industry, writing a monthly newsletter, blog and articles for various local newspapers. She holds a Bachelor of Science from the University of Maryland in dietetics, personal training certification through AFAA and is CSCS-certified through NSCA.