Are You Doing Enough Cardiorespiratory Exercise?
There are many types of cardiorespiratory exercise options, including running, biking, hiking, group aerobics and climbing stairs. Everyone has a preferenceoften I speak with people who say they only like to use the elliptical machine or they only use the Stairmaster. What everyone tends to have in common is uncertainty: Are they getting enough exercise? Are they working hard enough when they do exercise? Why bother if they can’t see their body change?
Why Do I Need Cardio at All?
Cardiorespiratory exercise is a gift for your heart. Regular cardio allows your heart to become more effective and efficient, improving your health. It is also a great way to burn calories.
How Much Cardio Does a Person Need?
For general health, you should get five to seven days of moderate cardio, totaling 30 minutes per day. Moderate is defined as difficult enough that your heart and respiratory rates increase, but you are not exhausted or completely out of breath.
For an improvement in your fitness level, you should get three to five days a week of more intense cardio. Spend 20 to 60 minutes doing cardio on these days.
How Do I Know if I Am Working Out Hard Enough?
The easiest way to monitor how hard you are working is by using heart rate zones. When you are born, your heart is capable of beating 220 beats every minute. Each year, this number goes down approximately one beat. So if you are 40 years old, your heart has the capacity, at its maximum, to beat around 180 beats every minute.
The answer to how hard your heart is working can be found by using different percentages of your maximum heart rate. When you are doing your cardio, you should be exerting yourself at a minimum of 65% of your heart rate’s capacity and a maximum of 90% of your heart rate’s capacity.
Example, based on a 40 year old person
To find your heart rate maximum, subtract your age from 220. (220 – 40 = 180 beats per minute, your approximate heart rate maximum)
To find the minimum beats per minute you should be working at, multiply your heart rate max by 60%. (180 x .65 = 117 beats per minute)