Cardio – Work your heart up

The word cardio literally means working upon your heart. Another term related here is ‘aerobics’, aerobics doesn’t means jumping around to disco music, it means with air.  Thus any exercise in which your muscles require an increased supply of oxygen, are known as aerobic, such exercises are known as cardio exercise too since it challenges your heart and lungs. Brisk walking, jogging, running, biking, swimming, skating, stair climbing, rowing, aerobic dance are few examples of cardio exercise, apart this any exercise that involves change in body position continuously making you breath harder than normal can be considered as cardio workout. 

How it works?

When you jog , the large muscles of your lower body and legs are working continuously over a period of time, to use body glucose for energy also requires oxygen so the heart and lungs go into high gear to increase oxygen delivery to muscles. There for in addition to working out the large exterior muscles, aerobic activity also provides good workout for heart and lungs also.

How much?

According to guidelines set by ACSM the cardio should include 20 – 60 mins of aerobic activity per session for 3-5 times per week.

How hard?

Technically you should be working out in your training zone, lets see how to calculate your training zone:

Training heart rate formula: (220-your age)x 0.6 and 0.9

Estimated maximum heart rate : 220-Age,  Lower range: MHR x 0.6 ,  Upper range: MHRx0.9

Example if your age is 30 then

MHR = 220-30 = 190

Lower range= 190 x 0.6 = 114            and Upper range = 190 x 0.9 = 174

We can interpret this as, if the person with age 30 is doing exercise and if his heart rate is less than or equals to 114 he needs to step up a bit, and if the heart rate is near 174 or higher, then he needs to ease out.

How to know the current heart rate??

Place two fingers on the inside of your wrist or on your neck below and off to the side of your chin. You will be able to feel the pulse. Look at the second hand of clock and count the beats for 15 seconds, then multiply the number by four. That is the working heart rate.

The TALK test:

A much easier way to tell whether you’re working out at an appropriate level is the talk test. Can you carry out conversation while exercising? It might be little difficult to talk smoothly, but yes, you are doing fine, if you are so out of breath that you even cant utter a word, then its time to slow down. And if you can sing while working out,, then you are not exercising, its waste of time, better step it up.

Advantages of Cardio:

  • Burn calories and manage your weight easily!!
  • Improve the functioning of your heart and lungs making you less vulnerable to disease of heart and lungs.
  • Improve circulation.
  • Improve sleep pattern.
  • Improve state of mind.
  • Intense aerobic activity can release endorphins , which makes you feel good, steer up your strength and enthusiasm.

Disadvantages of Cardio:

Like before starting any exercise program, one should check his physical condition before starting cardio too, if you are very obese, start with strength training also, else your knees will be overloaded and problems may arise with lower back too. If you are novice, then start with low intensity  and increase the intensity and duration with time.

At last, don’t forget your warm up and cool down. Stay hydrated, fuel up with good protein after exercise.

Stay healthy !!  stay happy!!


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