Many gym-goers list calorie burning as their number one reason for opting for a cardio session, but the truth is that aerobic exercise is about much more than keeping your weight under control.
Aerobic exercise, also known as “cardio” workout, often uses repetitive contractions of large muscle groups to get the heart beating faster. It’s considered to be the most beneficial type of exercise for your cardiovascular system (heart + circulatory system)
What happens to your heart during aerobic exercise?
Aerobic exercise improves circulation, which results in lowered blood pressure and heart rate. During this type of activity, blood flow is directed toward your working muscles and away from other areas of the body. This leads to increased blood flow and more volume returning to the heart.
When the heart registers a larger blood volume, the left ventricle adapts and enlarges over time. The larger cavity it creates can hold more blood and expel more blood per beat, even at rest. With regular cardio conditioning, our resting heart rate can even drop because each beat delivers a bigger burst of blood. When fewer beats are needed, it takes work off your heart, which is why cardio exercise is recommended for heart health.
Calculate your Target Heart Rate:
When participating in aerobic conditioning, it’s a good idea to know what range you should be working in for optimal performance and results.
If you’re aiming for a target heart rate in the vigorous range of 70 to 85 percent, you would calculate it like this:
- Subtract your age from 220 to get your maximum heart rate.
- Calculate your resting heart rate by counting your heart beats per minute when you are at rest, such as first thing in the morning. It’s usually somewhere between 60 and 100 beats per minute for the average adult.
- Calculate your heart rate reserve (HRR) by subtracting your resting heart rate from your maximum heart rate. Your HRR is your resting heart rate subtracted from your maximum heart rate.
- Multiply your HRR by 0.7 (70 percent). Add your resting heart rate to this number.
- Multiply your HRR by 0.85 (85 percent). Add your resting heart rate to this number.
- These two numbers are your training zone heart rate for vigorous intensity exercise. Your heart rate during exercise should be between these two numbers.
Cardio Training has many benefits
According to John’s Hopkins, aerobic exercise is one of your most effective tools for strengthening the heart muscle, keeping your weight under control and warding off the artery damage from high cholesterol, high blood sugar and high blood pressure that can lead to heart attack or stroke.
How often should you train?
Health experts such the American College of Sports Medicine and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) say that you should try a minimum of 30 minutes of moderate intensity cardio work for five or more sessions per week