Cardio…..just the word alone generates more moans and groans than followers this blog will ever have.
Its time that our traditional views on what cardio training looks like, changes. Instead of picturing people running mile after mile or jogging for 20 minutes on a treadmill. Lets actually breakdown what cardio really is.
CARDIO ONLY REQUIRES AN INCREASE IN HEART RATE
That’s it. Nothing else to it. As long as you increase your heart rate, you are doing cardio work.
Lets explore the functions of the heart and different ways that we can help improve our heart, cardio and overall mental health.
The American Heart Associations tells us that an average heart rate for an adult (10 years or older) falls between 60 and 100 beats per minute. Elite athletes can even fall to around 40 beats per minute. You can find your heart rate a couple different ways. You can either buy a fancy watch or monitor that will calculate for it you or you can press your index finger against your pulse set a timer for 6 seconds and count the number of pulses you feel. Once your six seconds is up, multiply that number by 10 to get a rough estimate.
Cardio training helps us in a couple of key facets. #1 it will help lower your overall heart rate meaning your heart will not need to work as hard throughout the day. #2 a strengthened heart should produce a higher stroke volume which means it will pump more blood each beat. Our overall goal is to improve the efficiency of our cardiac output. Less beats, more blood.
YOU DON’T HAVE TO RUN MINDLESS LAP AFTER LAP
Luckily for us, cardio is actually a really easy quality to train. Literally all that you need to do is move at a pace that elevates your heart rate between 50% and 85% of your max heart rate.
One of my favorite strength coaches Max Shank recommends finding a skill or sport you like and doing that instead of running laps. This changes the focus from “burning” calories to actually improving yourself.
If you are already on your feet all day and maybe don’t want to run around, you can still improve your cardio within the gym. Setting up circuits within the gym is fairly simple. Pick out 5-10 exercises you like, choose some lightweights and move. You can experiment with timing but I’d recommend starting with 30 seconds of work followed by 30 seconds of rest. I would also recommend choosing exercises that improve movement patterns. Some high quality exercises are goblet squats, push-ups, inverted rows and kettle bell swings.
Hopefully you can easily apply these tips to your training and find a better way to get the desired results.
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