In order to improve your overall fitness and lose weight, cardio exercise is often recommended. This is because any cardiovascular training burns lots of calories but also has benefits for your heart, lungs and circulatory system.
Cardio also helps to reduce stress, due to the fact that your brain releases endorphins during aerobic exercise, so improving your mental as well as your physical well-being.
If you’re looking to improve your cardio endurance, which types of exercise should you try out?
Those that work best are the ones that raise your heart rate and then maintain it at that elevated level for a period of time. Doing this kind of exercise strengthens the heart muscles, improves blood circulation and increases the body’s efficiency to deliver oxygen and energy to your muscles.
You might not see walking as cardio, but as long as you walk quickly, it can raise your heart rate sufficiently. The great thing about walking as a form of exercise is that it’s so easy to fit into your daily routine – to and from work, at lunchtime in the park, or in the evening after dinner.
Swimming is a great way to get some cardio exercise and as you use a wider range of muscle groups than for walking or jogging, you’ll burn a higher amount of calories in the pool. To improve your cardiovascular endurance, do interval swim training. Vary the distance you swim and balance sprints with short rest periods. Start off by doing 50m sprints, but as your fitness improves, increase the sprints to 100m or 200m with reduced rest periods.
While team sports don’t offer players continual cardiovascular training, there’s plenty of periods of play when your cardio limits will be challenged. In sports like football or basketball, there’s always some running involved. There’s also a social aspect to playing a team sport, which means there’s less pressure on you to motivate yourself to exercise by yourself.
If there’s a sport you’re interested in trying out, start by watching the experts play. It’s surprising how many technique tips you can pick up from watching games of basketball, soccer, rugby or tennis. You can make the viewing even more interesting by getting some free bets on the games you’re watching – most betting sites offer a welcome bonus when people first open an account.
Rowing is a great all-round exercise that gives great cardiovascular training, but is also low-impact. There are also plenty of rowing clubs you can join if you’d rather do your rowing in a real boat but using the rowing machine at the gym will give you just the same workout.
Source: Rowing via Facebook
Similarly, other stationary gym equipment will provide cardiovascular training – try the bike, elliptical trainer, stair machine or treadmill. All these machines can be programmed to suit your own personal fitness goals, and you can track your heart rate and the number of calories burned.
“Dance” (CC BY 2.0) by be creator
Yes, you can even get your cardiovascular endurance up while you’re out on a Friday or Saturday night, on the dancefloor! That said, there are dance exercise classes or you could also dance at home. Just put on some music with a great beat, and get into the groove. Using dance to work out is really adaptable; you can be as energetic as you want to be, and dance for as long as you want.
The American Heart Association recommends all adults get at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity at least five days a week. If that sounds too challenging, approach it in a different way, breaking up the 150 minutes into 10-minute chunks that you fit in across the week and you don’t have to do it at the gym. It may be tough at first, but keep it up and you’ll soon see your endurance levels rise.