Current health recommendations state that adults should look to accumulate at least 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous aerobic physical activity per week. This activity should be spread out over 3 or more days in bouts that are at least 10 minutes long. To be effective for you, what you do as part of your cardiovascular exercise should fit a few criteria:
First off, cardiovascular exercise should be appropriate for your current fitness level, as doing so will help you stick to your routine. If intensity and amount of training are too high, you likely won’t find your exercise plan to be enjoyable and you may be putting yourself at greater risk of overexertion-related injury. Pushing yourself is encouraged but be aware of where your limits are. If the activities you are doing are causing physical pain or leading to extreme amounts of fatigue and feelings of under-recovery that last days after your workouts, you might want to dial things back a little. When taking things to the next level and applying progression to your routine, do so gradually. Instead of increasing the intensity, duration, and frequency of your cardiovascular workouts all at once, adjust one variable at a time.
Cardiovascular exercise should be enjoyable. There is a wide variety of activities that can be used as cardiovascular exercise. If you try one and don’t enjoy it, don’t dismiss all forms of cardio. If you don’t like running, try cycling or swimming. Or maybe you prefer interval training over steady-state activity. Other activities like dancing, skating, and sports like badminton or soccer may also be worth trying if you find traditional cardio training tedious.
Cardio should be convenient and accessible. You might be limited in your cardiovascular exercise options based on available equipment, resources, and other lifestyle factors. As things change, you might have to adjust your cardiovascular training routine as well. If you spend your winter playing recreational hockey, don’t use the end of the season as an excuse to let things slide. Find another activity to take up your time. The same thing applies if you’re dealing with an injury. If your running routine has been derailed by knee pain, perhaps a lower impact activity such as swimming can be a viable alternative. Focus on what you can do, rather than what you can’t, and you’ll be sure to stay on track.
Make your cardio work for you and your lifestyle! For more suggestions, workouts, tips and more log in to uofa.myvivaplan.com.
Guest blog by
Corbin Cammidge, B.Kin, CSEP-CPT, AFLCA
Personal Trainer and Group Fitness Instructor
Hanson Fitness and Lifestyle Centre & Saville Fitness Centre