Cardio fitness training is a fundamental part of any exercise program. The words “cardio” is interchangeable with “aerobic” and is short for “cardiovascular”. Improvement in the ability of the heart to deliver oxygen to the muscles and in the muscle’s ability to generate energy with oxygen results in increased aerobic fitness. Engaging in aerobic training has many benefits. Many people report feeling more “energy” from their program. Aerobic capacity is associated with a faster metabolism, which means that stored body fat burns faster. This enhances weight loss.
The type of activity you choose is less important than the quality level that you maintain. Tennis, racquetball and basketball can be considered cardio if they are performed with adequate intensity and duration. Otherwise, the Scottsdale, Arizona climate is perfect for swimming, running, cycling and hiking are great forms of aerobic training. Of course indoor machines such as the elliptical, treadmill and stair-master are primarily designed to increase aerobic fitness.
A few general guidelines for cardio fitness training:
1. Perform cardio training for at least thirty minutes three days a week. To qualify as aerobic, you should break a sweat and/or stay within your target heart rate for at least twenty minutes. Your approximate target heart rate is between 65 and 80 percent of your maximum heart rate (estimated as 220 minus your age) Heart rate zones vary tremendously from person to person, can be altered by certain medications and it should be remembered that this target heart rate zone is only an estimate.
2. Include intervals in your aerobic fitness program at least once weekly. Interval training involves alternating high-intensity aerobic bursts with periods of rest. This can significantly increase your metabolism.
3. Properly designed strength training can actually increase your aerobic capacity. A full-body circuit training program with short rest intervals doubles as aerobic training. These workouts should be performed at least twice weekly in addition to your more traditional aerobic workouts.
Remember to consult with your doctor before starting a any fitness program.