1/15/2013

CHOOSING A FITNESS PROGRAMME 1: CARDIOVASCULAR TRAINING


You’ve decided to lose weight, or maybe you are slim but you have decided you need some physical activity. You head to a gym to register but then you are confused about what fitness programme is right for you.  In this article and the next three, I would briefly highlight four components of fitness training to help you make an informed decision. These are: Cardiovascular training, Resistance training, Flexibility, and Motor skills.

Cardiovascular training: the term “cardiovascular” relates to the circulatory system, which comprises the heart and blood vessels. The cardiovascular system is responsible for circulating blood throughout the body. A cardiovascular fitness programme would therefore aim at building the circulatory system. Cardiovascular fitness not only improves your ability to carry out activities more efficiently, but, also reduces the risk of diseases such as coronary heart disease, heart attack, stroke, among others. Some benefits of cardiovascular fitness include:
  • It increases the bone density. As you age you lose bone density, cardiovascular fitness helps prevent this.
  • Decreases body fat due to utilizing fat as energy, i.e. weight loss.
  • Increases heart function and its ability to pump more blood
  • Increased endurance and stamina
  • Increases metabolism
  • Improved immune system
  • Reduces stress and anxiety
Cardiovascular exercises include: zumba, running, jogging, dancing, cycling, swimming, step aerobics, kickboxing. Cardiovascular activity usually ranges from 30-50 minutes depending on the intensity. Low intensity workouts would have longer duration  while high intensity workouts would have shorter duration  If you prefer to workout with equipment, you can gain cardio fitness from using the treadmill, stationary bikes, stair steppers, elliptical machines and rowing machines.

Cardiovascular exercise is good for everyone, children, adults, men, women, fat or slim. If you are looking to lose weight or maintain your body weight, incorporating cardiovascular exercises to your weekly activities would help you achieve this.
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