Why improve your cardiorespiratory endurance?
We know that heart disease is the number one killer of men in the US1)https://www.cdc.gov/men/lcod/2014/index.htm.
This fact cuts across all ages and races of men.
Especially for a man over the age of 45, heart disease is the leading cause of death.
Now, here is why you want to improve your cardiorespiratory endurance:
People with higher levels of cardiorespiratory fitness have a lower risk of all-cause death and coronary heart disease2)https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/05/090519172153.htm.
The lack of physical activity is a major risk factor for heart disease.
The minimum of physical activity that you need is 30 minutes of moderate intensity exercise five times a week3)http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/HealthyLiving/PhysicalActivity/FitnessBasics/American-Heart-Association-Recommendations-for-Physical-Activity-in-Adults_UCM_307976_Article.jsp#.WMLRYhIrJBw.
If you are like many people in the US, you are not getting much physical activity.
Less than 5% of adults participate in 30 minutes of physical activity each day; only one in three adults receive the recommended amount of physical activity each week4)https://www.fitness.gov/resource-center/facts-and-statistics/.
Is there a correlation between lack of physical activity and heart disease?
Absolutely, and this is great news, because, physical activity is something you can control.
You cannot control your age, nor your family genetics.
But, you can get up off the lazy boy and start walking.
There is irrefutable evidence that regular physical activity prevents heart disease.
And, not only heart disease, but even diabetes, cancer, hypertension, obesity, depression, osteoporosis and premature death.
A high fitness level reduces your risk of premature death from any cause, including cardiovascular disease.
This is particularly true for men and women who show no symptoms of heart disease.
People who have the highest levels of physical activity and fitness are at lowest risk of premature death5)https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1402378/.
Clearly, exercise is medicine.
Achieving a higher fitness level than where you are now is not impossible.
There are five major components of fitness:
- Body composition
- Muscular strength
- Muscular endurance
- Cardiovascular fitness
Today, we will focus on cardiovascular fitness.
Even if you are a weightlifter, you might discover that your cardio fitness is not optimal for your age.
Let’s cover some of the main components necessary to design an effective cardiovascular fitness program.
Table of Contents
7 Training Principles to Increase Cardiorespiratory Endurance
1. The Overload Principle
The overload principle says that in order to increase your cardiovascular fitness, you must challenge yourself.
We know that few adults get 30 minutes of moderate exercise a day.
If this is true for you, all you have to do then, is start walking at least 30 minutes a day.
Challenge yourself to get fitter.
Give your heart the exercise that it needs.
Your heart is there for you every single second of your lifetime.
Pumping about 5 quarts of blood through your body every minute.
Make your heart stronger, starting today.
Your body will change, get fitter, when you increase the load.
So, if you are a couch potato, start walking.
If you walk the treadmill slowly, start jogging and/or running.
Be specific with the type of exercise that you want to improve.
If you want to be a better runner, run.
To be a better walker, walk.
If you want to swim better, swim.
The more you participate in your activity of choice, the better you will get.
Your body will adapt to the specific load that you impose.
This is known as S.A.I.D or Specific Adaptation to Imposed Demand.
You can improve your cardiorespiratory endurance much faster than you think.
Even after the age of 50.
Just because you hit 50, or even 60, don’t think that you cannot improve your fitness.
You can never stop improving.
Whatever your fitness level is now, your body will stay there.
If you are a couch potato, so will you remain.
Unfortunately, your fitness will not improve by sitting.
If you can run 4.5 miles an hour for 20 minutes, so you will remain.
Unless you push yourself to run faster.
Accommodation is the principle of progression.
You must build progression into your training regimen.
Use it or lose it.
If you train today, you do not keep the benefits permanently.
Unless you train again.
To maintain your cardiorespiratory endurance, the rule of thumb is 48 hours.
This means that your cardiorespiratory benefits will last about 48 hours.
After a couple of days, your fitness level can begin to taper off.
After decades, well, just look at people who have not worked out for decades.
But, do not be discouraged.
If you have ignored training for decades, you can still get into great shape.
You will be surprised at how fast your body will respond.
In fact, just after 12 weeks, you can make spectacular improvements.
6. Individual differences
We are all different, including our muscle and skeletal structure.
This means that you cannot expect the same results as an olympic athlete.
Do not compare yourself to others.
First, take the cardiorespiratory endurance assessments and find your baseline.
Then, get fitter in comparison to your own baseline.
This is how to improve your health and fitness, to the best level possible, for you.
7. Rest Principle
You have to rest, your body needs sleep.
During sleep, your body will rest, repair and build tissue.
Therefore, you must shoot for 8 hours of sleep every night.
If you are over the age of 20, you need at least 7 hours of sleep.
Even 9 or 10 hours of sleep is appropriate for an adult.
So, how can you increase your cardio respiratory endurance?
The answer is to design a cardiorespiratory endurance program that follows all the above principles.
Let’s now look at how to create a cardiovascular training program.
Cardiovascular Programming and FITTE
To create a program that increases your cardio fitness, use the following template:
First, determine the mode of your training, meaning, what type of cardio?
Do you want to walk, run, bike, swim, hike?
Second, determine the frequency, how often, how many times a week?
Third, figure out the duration of the training session.
Will you train for 10 minutes or an hour?
Fourth, you must know the training intensity.
How much effort will you put into the exercise?
The acronymn FITTE is a template for these rules:
F – frequency of training.
I – Intensity of the training.
T stands for the type of training, long distance, fartlek, pace/tempo, short or long intervals.
T – Training duration.
E – Enjoyment, which cardio exercise do you want to do?
Choice of Exercise Mode
The choice of exercise mode depends on your preferences.
As well as any injuries that you might have.
If you have a rotator cuff injury, you have limited mobility.
The choice of mode also depends on your cardiovascular goals.
As well as your balance, physical activity and current fitness level.
Last, your choice of exercise should reflect the type of movement that you do daily.
If you walk for a living, then choose walking, not swimming, for your exercise mode.
The American College of Sports Medicine guidelines for cardio frequency are:
3 – 5 times a week.
The exercise frequency is dependent on your goals, activities/sports and your needs.
How do you measure exercise intensity?
Exercise intensity is measured by:
The Talk Test – your ability to talk during exercise lessens as the exercise intensity increases.
The RPE – a scale developed by Dr. Borg.
RPE stands for the rate of perceived exertion.
This scale is accurate in identifying the exercise intensity.
In order to discover the rate of perceived exertion, just ask yourself or your client the following:
On a scale of 1 – 10, what is your current level of effort/difficulty?
If the answer is a 1, the exercise is too easy.
If a 10, the exercise is much too difficult.
Target Heart Rate – another method of measuring intensity is your heart rate.
If you are a 60 year old man, a 60% intensity target heart rate is approximately 130 beats per minute.
Pace – the speed of the activity.
For example, if you are running 4.5 mph, increase the intensity by running 5 miles an hour.
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