How to improve cardiovascular fitness

How to improve cardiovascular fitness

The following guidelines on how to improve cardiovascular fitness are based on the American College of Sports Medicine Guidlines for Cardiorespiratory fitness (2000)

ACSM Cardiorespiratory Training Guidelines

  • 3 basic components to any exercise conditioning session are warm-up,conditioning stimulus, & cool-down
  • Warm-up & cool-down performed at approximately 50% of stimulus intensity (hold conversation without much difficulty)
  • Warm-up & cool-down may take 5-15 minutes, depending on age & fitness level
  • Accumulate 30 minutes or more of moderate-intensity physical activity on most days of the week (intermittent activities have same health benefits as continuous activities)
  • Intensity: 50-85% of heart rate maximum (220 – age x .50 to .85) or 60-80% heart rate reserve (220 – age – resting heart rate x .60 to .80 + resting heart rate)
  • Time: 20-60 or more minutes per session, continuous or intermittent activity
  • Type: Aerobic (run, brisk walk, swim, cross-country ski, dance, elliptical trainer) Ask fitness expert how to operate equipment with which you are
  • unfamiliar and follow all safety procedures for each activity
  • Enjoyment: preferably enjoyable aerobic activities
  • 3 stages of Cardiorespiratory training: Initial, Improvement, Maintenance
  • Progression of both intensity and duration in a single session is not recommended. Increase the duration first before increasing the intensity.
  • If you can complete an exercise session at the upper level of frequency and duration for 2 weeks without signs of excessive fatigue, progress to the next level
  • If training is discontinued, gains in fitness regress by approximately 50% within 4-12 weeks
  • For weight management, frequent, enjoyable exercise periods of low to moderate intensity and relatively long duration result in the largest weekly caloric expenditures
  • Stay within your heart rate range. Monitor through a heart rate monitoror manually (carotid artery on neck or radial artery on thumb side of wrist)

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