Your body’s cardiovascular system comprises two main parts: the heart and the blood circulatory system. Blood carries oxygen and nutrients to every single cell in your body, and the heart pumps blood at a higher or lower volume and pressure, depending on how active you are. Cardiovascular fitness is simply a measure of how efficiently your heart pumps blood through your vascular system. It’s also known as aerobic fitness.
1 What’s cardio training?
It’s a workout designed to raise your pulse to a certain level, for a specified duration, at a certain intensity, to raise your cardiovascular fitness. It takes into account:
● the type of exercise (anything from dancing and swimming to running in a treadmill, etc)
● frequency (usually, two to five sessions per week, depending on whether you’re already doing other forms of exercise)
● duration per session (usually, 15 to 60 minutes of continuous activity)
● Intensity (usually measured in your pulse rate)
2 Learn how to use your body better and in more useful ways
Training involves hitting progressively higher limits; in this case, it’s for your pulse rate. But it would get boring pretty fast if that’s all it’s about. It’s not! Variations of cardio training allow your body to learn and adapt, so you can use your body in ever more different and useful ways.
3 Turbo-boost your heart to benefit your whole body
Because your heart is, well, at the heart of everything you do physically, cardio training has holistic health benefits. Basically, your heart becomes more efficient as its muscles get stronger and more resilient from regular aerobic exercise, i.e. your cardiac output improves.
4 You’ll enjoy the daily perks
Because your heart needs less effort to pump the same volume of blood for the same type, duration and intensity of activity, you can catch the train without pausing for breath, for starters. And because blood also carries heat, your body keeps a constant temperature better as you move from the Arctic air-conned indoors to the crazy climate-changed outdoors, and back again, every day.
5 You’ll live long and prosper
All the above mean you’re less likely to suffer or die from cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis and cancer. Research shows that even a small amount of regular cardio training can significantly improve your health.
6 You’ll have more energy to do extra stuff
Cardio training increases the size and density of mitochondria, your body’s tiny power plants found in every single cell. This means your muscle and liver cells will use glucose and amino acids more efficiently. This is excellent for long-term health, especially for calorifically chronic overeaters. Your recovery from strength training also improves.
7 You won’t need to ask, “Do I look fat in this”
Cardio training can lower your percentage of body fat. You could lose muscle mass and strength if you’re too gung ho, but this can be a good thing: low muscle mass is more energy-efficient and great for those who want to last the distance rather than those looking to KO their opponents with one punch.
8 And you can get started right now
That’s because you can kick it off with your favourite activity, at your current skill and fitness level, matched to your present circumstances, wherever you live. Oh, and your heart performs best on natural, full-fat fuel. Exercise isn’t just good for you; it’s plain good.