A post Dedicated to Cardio

Mighty March, OH YA. Bring on Spring baby! So, it’s that time of year right when we start to freak a little and think oh boy gonna have to get those shorts out soon and oh dear, my bathing Suit.

That’s why I have dedicated the next few posts to be more informational. I am giving you the facts.  When we really begin to understand the facts behind all the weight, machines and sweat. Grabbing our gym bag and throwing on our tennis shoes brings a whole new meaning to ” I WORKOUT”.

Today we are going to talk about cardio.

Cardio involves continuous rhythmic contractions of large muscle groups. Cardio helps us manage our weight by burning calories and fat. It helps keep stress at manageable level, helps anxiety and depression, increases circulation and complexion and keeps you feeling younger in body and mind. It reduces high blood pressure, heart disease, and high cholesterol.Our heart muscle is strengthened which increases its ability to supply oxygen to the rest of the body, clean out waste products and carry vital nutrients to organs.

2011 American College of Sports Medicine recommends that if you are trying lose weight and improve fitness 30-60 minutes of moderate to intense physical activity 5 times a week. Other options could include: Doing a 30 minute moderate-intense cardio workout at a pace that works up a light sweat 5 days a week, or a 20 minute vigorously intense cardio workout three days a week. If you are running low on time these sessions can be broken down into three 10 minute blocks throughout your day.

High Impact vs Low Impact: Anytime you are jumping off the floor, jogging, running, performing pylyometric exercises this is considered high impact. It’s great for building up the legs and glutes and pushes you into an intense cardio zone. The high impact is good for your bones and helps prevent osteoporosis. Low-Impact activities include walking, swimming, cycling, when the jump is taken out and replaced with a tap, resistance, stretching, Pilates, and yoga exercises. They still provide a good workout depending on what suits your workout personality and likes best and are helpful when starting a new exercise program, for the older active adult, women who are pregnant or postpartum, or those recovering from injury.

YOU WILL HEAR ME SAY THIS AGAIN AND AGAIN. It is always essential to warm-up and cool-down the body before and after exercise. It is crucial to gradually bring up your core temperature and prepare your muscles and heart for your exercise. You could march in place and perform small movement with smaller muscles groups and start to gradually use your larger muscle groups by adding a step tap,high knee’s,squats,front kicks, and ending with jacks. If you are on an elliptical or treadmill most programs have a warm-up and cool-down time period. Your cool down gives your body the chance to bring your heart rate down and prevents post exercise stiffness and helps enhance flexibility.

What intensity should I work at?

The Rate of Perceived Exertion is a scale that uses a number to rate the intensity of any exercise you perform and it is based on how you feel while performing the exercise. 0 is inactive and 10 is the hardest. Listed below is the scale broken down.

0-4 gentle zone appropriate for those new to exercise or recovering from injury

4-8 exercise requires moderate to intense effort and makes you sweat and breathe heavy! For most it is the appropriate zone to work in when performing cardio.

4-5 effectively works the entire body
5-7 gives you toning and good fat-burning
7-8 challenges your body’s systems more strongly

8-9 this type of exercise requires intense focus and effort. professional athletes perform exercise at this level and it’s good for us to visit this level once in a while

9-10 Maximal effort here. Performing as hard as you can. The zone that professionals work in when competing

One Last Way you can see if you are working out at a high enough intensity is to take your heart rate:

Step 1: Establish your maximum Heart Rat(MHR) by subtracting your age from 220. I will just use mine. 220-27=193

Step 2: Take your pulse while you’re exercising at wrist or neck. by counting the number of heart beats during a 15 second period and multiplying by 4. I’ll use 140 ( i just worked out I should have done this:)

Step 3: Workout what percentage of your maximum heart rate you are working at by dividing your heart rate while
you’re exercising by your maximum heart rate and multiplying by 100. Here we go: 140 divided by 193=73%

Step 4: Familiarize yourself with recommended heart rate training zones and see which of the four RPE categories you fall into. If you are looking to lose weight and improve fitness they should be done at 60-85% of maximum heart rate.

60-65% of max HR is 4-5 on RPE on the scale
65-80% of max HR is 5-7 on RPE on the scale
80-85% of max HR is 7-8 on RPE on the scale
above 90% of max heart rate is 8-10 on the RPE scale

A lot of the above information is taken from The Women’s Fitness Book, by: Kelly Thompson. I love this book and recommend it to anyone who is trying to really grasp and understand all the in’s and out’s of working out and effects on the body in response to exercise. THe book breaks it down and makes it very easy to understand.

My advice to you Live Fit:
1. Pick a type of cardio you feel passionate about. A workout partner to hold you accountable. That way you have someone to workout with and are looking forward to and enjoying the type of cardio you have selected.

2. pick your comfort zone. What I mean by this is are you are high-impact or low-impact girl. If you like taking cross training classes that have you doing exercises like burpies and sumo squats you probably are the high-impact type. If you would rather prefer a walk on a nature trail and some light resistance training, you may be more the low impact type. Whatever the case make up your cardio schedule on Sunday that way you can have your workouts penciled in and this will help make them a priority in your daily routine.

3. Take that heart rate. Maybe you have been working out for a while and are unaware that you are ready to move to the next level or you just realized you aren’t taking enough days of rest in between and need to back off a little bit to give your body some time to recover. If you are looking to improve fitness work your way up to 65%-80% of max heart rate=5-7 on the RPE scale.

Enjoy that cardio. I would have to say some days it depends on my mood I can go from high, medium, to low impact and I prefer running, cardio kickboxing resistance training, interval training, circuits, and fusion classes. Find your nitch in the fitness world and load up your gym bag the elliptical is calling your name ladies!

Blessings, Michelle

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