PSA: CARDIO DOES NOT HAVE TO BE TORTURE!

Its Wednesday and we know what that means, another blog post! 

This is Week 2 of our blog series running alongside the 6 week summer reset programme to give you more information about the different principles that come along with working out. 

For Week 2 we are discussing the benefits that regular cardiovascular exercise can bring to your life and how this boost in fitness can improve your cardiovascular health. 

The Oxford dictionary defines cardiovascular exercise as: ‘the ability of the heart and blood vessels to supply nutrients and oxygen to tissues (including muscles) during sustained exercise’. When one considers taking part in ‘cardio’ the mind often wanders to running as a clear example. However, cardio can be any activity at all that raises the heart rate and can come in many different forms. If you are looking to lose a little weight or improve your cardiovascular health for the better, see my list below for ways you can get your exercise in without wasting hours of your day on the treadmill: 

-Jump rope 
-Hoola hooping 
-Swimming 
-Gymnastics 
-Dance classes 
-Group exercise classes 
-Mountain bike riding 
-Rock climbing or bouldering 
-Hiking 
-Hoovering (with the added bonus of a clean floor!)
-Roller blading or ice skating 
-A public play park (free and often parks have some basic gym equipment also. It is surprising how exhausting playing on some of this equipment can be)
-Tennis/badminton 
-Skateboarding 
-Netball or basketball 
-and many more. Have a look at ways you can get involved in your local community, there are probably countless possibilities!

In the UK it is suggested that you partake in 150 minutes of moderate exercise a week in order to maintain a healthy lifestyle. This can be broken down into 30 minutes of exercise for 5 days of the week and can be anything from brisk walking to gardening and mowing the lawn, cricket to DIY, you certainly don’t have to torture yourself for long periods of time. 

Moderate exercise uses your aerobic system and oxygen obtained from breathing to provide energy to the muscles. You are performing moderate exercise if you feel that you can sustain a particular pace for an extended period of time, typically 20-40 minutes. The more you participate in aerobic exercise, the longer you will be able to work out for as the body naturally adapts for the better, so stick with it! 

Apart from aerobic training, another more advanced and also more intense form of exercising is anaerobic training. This uses sugars and chemicals within the body to provide energy for a short amount of time in the absence of oxygen. The anaerobic system should be used for short sharp intervals of intense exercise typically best used in HIIT training to accelerate results and build up a stronger resistance to the (positive) stress that exercise puts on the body. A bi-product of using sugars stored in the body as energy for exercise is a build up of lactic acid. This can be felt within the body as a stitch, but by practicing deep breathing when you experience this you can get rid of a stitch fairly quickly. The good news is if you remain consistent with training, your body builds up a stronger tolerance to lactic acid alongside improving your health and fitness, so keep at it and the results will come in thick and fast and with a lot less discomfort. 

Often the hardest part of an exercise regimen is actually sticking to that exercise regimen! I’m here now to talk to you about all the long-term benefits of regular exercise to get you jumping up and heading off to one of our fitness classes in the knowledge that you are contributing to a greater good. Aside from the obvious benefits including a decreased risk of heart disease, heart attack and obesity there are a number of other benefits which are often overlooked.

The first of which being ‘cardiovascular hypertrophy’. At first glance this isn’t a benefit of exercise that anyone can relate to, however it simply means an increase in the size of your heart muscle. As with any other form of exercise, you put some work in and your muscles grow, the same can be said for your heart, it is a muscle after all. The growth of your heart muscle also allows it to contract with more strength, meaning blood is pumped around your body more effectively than before. 

Due to this increased efficiency, your heart then doesn’t need to work so hard to get the blood around your body which results in less beats per minute and a lower resting heart rate overall. 

Another long-term adjustment your body will experience with regular exercise is increased haemoglobin levels. Haemoglobin is the protein found in red blood cells which oxygen connects to in order for the oxygen to travel through the blood stream. By exercising regularly your haemoglobin levels increase, more oxygen can be transported around the body more effectively meaning, again, your heart doesn’t have to work as hard. This in the long term will allow for improved heart health due to the heart muscle not having to over exert itself. 

I hope this blog post has given you an insight into how important it is to look after your long-term health by committing small amounts of time into moderate movement within your daily life. It really is as simple as that. A little bit of hoovering here, and some DIY and gardening there with an addition of roller blading, swimming, light jogging, skipping, rock climbing, dancing and more you can move your way into a long, happy, healthy life. 

Allix 🙂