- Brain Health – Increasing blood flow through cardiovascular training can increase oxygen into the brain resulting in a metabolic energy increase in brain cells. Studies have also shown modest cardiovascular training can increase brain derived nootropic factor or BDNF. This naturally occurring substance works to increase neutral connections in the brain resulting in increased focus and concentration as well as protection against age related cognitive decline *1. BDNF has also shown to be helpful in combating depression and anxiety.
- Heart Health – Cardiovascular training boosts HDL (good cholesterol) and lowers LDL (bad cholesterol) which decreases plaque in your arteries. Cardiovascular training also helps to strengthen your heart by allowing blood to be pumped more efficiently resulting in less stress to your heart.
- Keep Off Extra Body Fat – Creating a calorie deficit, cardiovascular training helps you burn more calories than you consume. This is a proven way to keep off excess body fat. Cardiovascular exercise in ANY form will burn more calories and contribute to an increased calorie deficit.
We can not stress this enough, any cardio is good! Here are some of our favorite workouts from beginner to advanced. As a general rule of thumb, hitting your target heart rate is a proven way to get the most out of your cardiovascular workout but this should be something you work up to as many people starting out will not be able to achieve this goal. You can use this tool to find your target heart rate: https://www.heart.org/en/healthy-living/fitness/fitness-basics/target-heart-rates .
- Walking – Walking is a place anyone can start for cardiovascular training. Simply walking fast on an incline of 3 degrees can benefit you tremendously. If you’re walking outside, walk for a minimum of 30 minutes to increase your cardiovascular health. Walking outside has also been shown to have a better positive impact on mood and mental focus than walking indoors. Try to go for 6 days per week, 30 minutes per session. You can then gradually increase to higher intensity as you get more comfortable.
- Jogging / fast walking – This is the tried and true standard for reaching your target heart rate. Everything applicable to walking is also applicable to jogging. Try gradually to push yourself and jog further in a given amount of time in order to boost your progress.
- Interval training – This is the most effective form of cardio if you have the shortest amount of time *2. Interval training is exercising very hard for a short amount of time followed by an active rest period for a longer period of time. Interval training has shown to be a fast and effective way to achieve cardiovascular fitness while decreasing body fat. *3. When trying interval training, aim for a 1-4 ratio of high intensity to low intensity exercise. For example 10 seconds of sprinting followed by 40 seconds of fast walking or jogging. This would equate to 80-95% (high intensity exercise) of target heart rate followed by 40-50% (low intensity) of target heart rate for low intensity. Interval training is the most efficient way to reach cardiovascular fitness and reap the benefits in the shortest amount of time, this is also the toughest and most advanced training.
Choose any exercise you wish; But for this example, cycling would be a great option! Start slow and only 3 days per week.
For the first month – 10 seconds high intensity followed by 40 seconds of low intensity – repeat 15 times; 12.5 min work out.
For the 2nd month – 15 seconds high intensity followed by 60 seconds low intensity – repeat 15 times; 18.75 min work out.
For the 3rd month – 20 seconds high intensity followed by 80 seconds low intensity – repeat 15 times; 25 min workout.
For the 4th month – Experiment with different combinations of high intensity versus low intensity. In general, 60 seconds max of high intensity and 240 second low intensity would be the threshold for maximum results.
Note – Feel free to walk on your off days as some people may feel like they need to do more ( you don’t!) but the extra steps would not be detrimental to your health or results.
1. TB16 – Thermal Burn – Fantastic energy nutraceutical that enhances calorie expenditure and endurance. Works to liberate fatty acids to be used as energy.
2. Wild Omega 3 – Fatty Acids. – Omega 3 fatty acids work to increase oxidation (burning of body fat) as well as increase circulation adding in cardiovascular health.
3. MR46 – Muscle Recovery – Amino acid blend enhances recovery and prevents muscle tissue breakdown during cardiovascular training. MR46 supports connective tissue which may prevent injuries and insure maximum results.