Cardio fitness is an important element in keeping our cardiovascular system healthy and thereby promoting body health and fitness. Our cardiovascular system is the mechanism for pumping blood with oxygen and nutrients through the blood vessel channels and delivering the oxygen and nutrients to the body. Then the system pumps the depleted blood back into the heart for a “recharge” of oxygen and nutrients before sending it back out again.
Choosing an effective cardio fitness workout is the best way to keep your Cardio System working at its peak. But how can you determine what are realistic cardio fitness goals for your busy lifestyle? Fitness goals are very personal toll gates that will differ for everyone depending on your time constraints, the amount of weight you may want to lose, the equipment you have access to, and commitment you have to making it a lifestyle change. Here are the four basic things to keep in mind when setting realistic goals for you:
Whether you want to lose a lot of weight or are just ready to get-healthy, adding cardiovascular fitness into an already busy schedule is going to be a challenge. Start out slow by picking just 3 days a week for a 30-minute “get moving” activity that raises you heart rate. Although lifting weights and resistance training are great for overall strength and fitness, cardo health comes from cardiovascular exercise that increases your heart rate. Excellent examples are brisk walks, stair climbing, or jumping on a trampoline.
Once you’ve been able to stick to a 3-day routine, re-evaluate your schedule, and look for ways to to add in fun activities that give you a workout. These can also be a social activity like playing tennis or biking. For those with very limited time, the combination of cardio resistance training could be ideal. It mixes strength training with a higher intensity activity. A good example is kickboxing or circuit training, that alternates weight repetitions with sprinting, jumping jacks, or even lunges.
If you’re looking for dramatic weight-loss, incorporating good cardiovascular exercise with a healthy diet will give you a slow, steady weight-loss plan that you can stick to going forward. Maybe you have a small amount of weight to lose and are just interested in better health. Look at choosing exercise activities that provide the cardiovascular intensity you want in an activity you enjoy. Planning an exercise routine that includes activities you don’t like will set you up for failure. If you like the social aspect of classes, consider a gym or studio that offers a variety. If you need the privacy and convenience of working out at home, consider inexpensive exercise equipment you can purchase or activities you can do with items you already have in your own home.
Although there are many cardiovascular exercises you can do without equipment, many of us enjoy the predictability of using cardio fitness machines. Most machines make it easy to time your workout, adapt the intensity, and measure calories burned or distance traveled. A local gym, YMCA or neighborhood fitness room will have a variety of choices to keep you interested and on your workout schedule. If you want to own your own, there are many low-cost options available to purchase online or at most sporting goods stores. As a savy buyer, just remember that the most expensive equipment is not always the best. Do your research and look for durable, consumer recommended products that will fit the space available in your home. Buying a piece of exercise equipment that is too cumbersome, expensive or complicated to use is another quick way to sabotage your cardio fitness goals.
If you find it difficult to stick to your fitness commitments, be willing to admit that about yourself and purposely set yourself up for success instead of failure. Make cardio exercise choices that you can get excited about. If you enjoy company, try enlisting a friend to workout with you–accountability can be a great motivator. Make a plan–look at your calendar each week and choose your workout days ahead of time so you don’t over-schedule yourself out of workout time. Don’t commit to workouts everyday in the beginning. You can over-do it mentally and quit, or over-work your body.