There is one fitness component that nudges ahead of all the others and that’s your cardiovascular (CV) fitness – ie: the health of your heart and lungs. It doesn’t matter if your diet is straight out of a textbook, your flexibility akin to a ballerina or you possess the strength of Schwazenegger; if your heart and lungs and the associated pipe-work is in poor condition, you’re in trouble.
Now the other components are still very important but I’m leading on CV fitness because if you get your CV fitness right, not only do you push back the risk of heart disease but you get a kitbag full of other amazing benefits too! For example, your weight management becomes much, much easier because aerobic exercise burns calories.
In tandem with burning calories, your risk of suffering from diabetes is slashed, together with numerous other ‘overweight-related’ problems. Additionally, you tone up your legs (and often other areas too, depending on the sort of CV exercise that you participate in). Last but not least, you feel good. CV exercise gives you that bit more because the endorphins flow around your body, your mood lifts, you relax and return from your workout in a positive, ‘can-do’ frame of mind.
So come on! CV exercise is great! And you’ve so much to choose from! Any sustained exercise (minimum 20 minutes but ideally longer), that elevates your pulse, gets you breathing heavier and perspiring is your heart’s friend. I don’t need to list them all here, I’m sure you can think of plenty – it’s almost too difficult to know which to choose.
So let me help! The majority of our Personal Training Clients want to lose weight and as mentioned earlier, for weight loss read burn calories. And to burn calories you need to work large muscle groups which will have a big demand for fuel (hence the calorie burn). And that typically means using your legs as they’re the largest muscle groups. So just like our Personal Training Clients, jogging and running is the number one weight loss tool that we use with them – which also gives them a fantastic CV fitness boost! Win-win!!
So this week, I’m getting super positive with enough CV training tips and benefits to keep you going all year!
1. Small steps first. If you’re new to exercise, have not exercised for some time, have a medical condition, are an ex-smoker, are aged over 35 or have any concerns about heading down the fitness road then have a check-up with your GP first. Your GP will be very supportive and if you do have any problems, your GP will endorse your plans providing that your training is closely monitored and controlled.
2. Target 3 out of 7. We’ve all heard of ‘5-a-day’ well for CV fitness, we’re targeting 3-out-of-7. So ideally you’ll complete some CV exercise for three days out of the seven. Now at this stage that may not be possible yet but in an ideal world, that’s where you’re heading.
3. Log it or lose it! From day one, chart your progress. Whatever exercise you choose, record what you do, how long for, how far you get, etc and then check back in subsequent weeks to monitor your progress.
4. Why jog? ‘I hate jogging’ is a refrain that I frequently hear, yet people often hate jogging because they’re actually too unfit to jog. And no, I’m not being harsh there. Jogging is one of the most challenging forms of CV exercise because you have to support your body-weight 100% of the time, it uses big muscle groups and so your oxygen demands are equally large. Hence if you’re not in shape, it’s pretty challenging. But wait. As our Personal Training Clients find, with perseverance, motivation and correct training, suddenly what was once tough, becomes straightforward. So jogging is your heart’s friend.
5. Jogging = calories. For every mile you cover on foot, you’ll burn a minimum of 100 calories plus more the faster you go so there’s a fantastic incentive to lace up those trainers!
6. Great complexion! Another brilliant by-product of CV exercise is the healthy glow you’ll give out. By getting your heart pumping, you’ll oxygenate all your tissues, flush out toxins, clear your skin and look amazing! Who needs make-up when you can look fantastic naturally!
7. N-R-G! CV training gets you going! It energises you and puts a real spring in your step so that you find that zest for life once again and you can achieve more. No stagnating in the office, no slumping when you get home, you’re achieving and going somewhere. Go do it!
8. Look good, feel good. Get a new haircut, how do you feel? Wear a new outfit, how do you feel? The answer of course is great. If you’re happy with how you’re looking you get a massive psychological boost. So if the pounds are melting away, your clothes are fitting better, you’ve got a fresh complexion and you feel energised – you bet you’re going to feel good!
9. Nutrition latitude. Who wants to be a saint 24/7? No-one. Well with CV exercise, providing that you do enough of it and regularly, you can loosen the lead on your nutrition plan occasionally. Only occasionally mind! Seriously though; a drink, some chocolate – all those foods that the lifestyle magazines class as ‘forbidden’, can re-enter your life on occasion – because if you’re getting your CV training right, you’ll have earned it and it won’t compromise your goals. Go enjoy!
10. Events & other fun. If you’ve a strong, healthy engine then the sky’s the limit. How about a fun event like a 5K with a few thousand people just like you? Ever thought of entering a sprint triathlon? And more – the world’s your oyster.
. . . and finally, So, ten motivational tools to help you get focused upon keeping your heart and lungs in A1 shape and of course, reaping loads of additional benefits en route. As I often remark to our Personal Training Clients; it’s no use burnishing your car’s bodywork to a showroom finish if you can’t get it off the drive . . . Enjoy your heart and lungs training from all the body4life health & fitness Team – that’s me, Jane, Duncan, Dave, Alison and Tony (we’ve all got a heart!).
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