Cardio! From Prevention, to performance...
Nov 29, 2022
Cardio! Why is it important? Well, how much time do we have?
Let’s start by defining the word cardiovascular: Relating to the heart and blood vessels.
The number one killer of adults is heart disease. Heart disease may be caused by many different things including, but not limited to, the environment, an unhealthy lifestyle (ie. smoking), a poor diet, lack of exercise, or genetics. BUT the good news is, we have the power to decrease our chances of getting heart disease! One of the ways, and the topic of this article is CARDIO (short for cardiovascular activity).
Your heart is a muscle, similar to other muscles in your body. For this example, imagine your bicep. If you never lift anything heavy, never do a bicep curl or only lift little tiny weights, your biceps will not get bigger and stronger. In fact, over time, your bicep will adapt to what it's used to and stop responding to the stimulus that you give it.
Your heart is the same way! It needs to be worked on a regular basis AND it needs to be challenged. That’s why variety, intensity and monitoring your heart rate while exercising is so important. If you don’t know how to do all of that, you should definitely consult with your trainer or better yet, schedule a Cardio Together Session so that we can take you through all the ins and outs of CARDIO and prescribe something specifically for you that you can track.
In the meantime, here are some tips to keep in mind as you do your cardio activities:
- The law of specificity: This law states that your body will become “good at” or used to the stimulus you give it. Ever wonder why long-distance runners are so good at running? Because they do it all the time! On the flipside, if those long-distance runners never cycle, it will probably be much more challenging for them than running is. The takeaway here is…It’s beneficial to your heart to switch up your routine!
- Full body activities will burn more calories because they use more muscles. For example, the elliptical burns more than the treadmill, swimming burns more than running, and tennis or basketball burns more than cycling!
- Intensity matters! Remember the bicep analogy? Well, if you only always lift 3-pound dumbbells, your biceps are not going to get any stronger. If you always only walk but never challenge yourself with jogging, running or hill climbs, your heart will stop getting stronger as well. Don’t. Get. Complacent.
- If you're like many people and despise traditional cardiovascular activities (walking, running, cycling or the elliptical, try:
- Doing these activities outside, in nature.
- Add bursts of cardio into your strength training routine
- Conduct your weight training sessions in a circuit-fashion, keeping your heart rate up for the duration of your workout.
- LIFT HEAVY. Lifting heavy weights has similar health benefits to cardio!
Like anything else, consistency is key. It’s better to get 15 – 30 minutes 3 – 4 times per week EVERY week, than to kill yourself with long runs and hours on the elliptical every day for just a few weeks (because who can keep that up anyway?).
We’re here to help, and we have the tools to help you.