Cardiovascular exercise is great for improving many aspects of your health, from mental to physical health. We all need cardio! For adults, the American Heart Association recommends aiming for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity cardiovascular activity each week or at least 75 minutes of high-intensity exercise to gain the most benefits.
Whether you're looking to maintain a healthy body weight or want to improve your heart health, starting a cardio workout plan is an admirable goal. But jumping into a cardiovascular training program as a newbie can be overwhelming. Where do you start? Creating a cardio workout plan that works for you can take time to perfect. Consider these tips and tricks to help you get the most out of your routine.
Set Achievable Goals and Track Progress
Everyone can benefit from setting cardiovascular fitness goals, including long-term athletes and newbies to exercise programs. Before you can set goals, you'll first want to assess your current fitness level and take into account your existing health conditions. If you have any chronic conditions, such as heart disease, be sure to review your exercise goals with your healthcare team first.
Setting individualized goals for cardiovascular training is important. You'll want your goal to be unique to your needs. One example of a specific goal is to complete an upcoming 5k race. On the other hand, goals can also be more generalized goals. Examples of generalized goals include getting 30 minutes of cardio each day or running a 10-minute mile.
Using the SMART acronym (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Time-Bound) can guide your objectives and keep you on the right track. In addition, monitoring progress regularly (technology is useful for this) can help you stay motivated as you slowly inch closer to achieving your goals.
Mix Up Your Routine Prevent Boredom
The great thing about cardiovascular training is that there are so many options to consider. From a simple jog to Zumba or boxing, there are endless opportunities to make cardiovascular training fun. Instead of sticking to one type of cardio, mix up your routine with varying exercise types to keep things interesting and to stay motivated.
You might also need to adapt your type of cardio to adjust for indoor/outdoor workouts as the weather changes. Instead of an outdoor jog, check out local fitness centers for indoor cardio classes. Mixing up your routine regularly also ensures that your body doesn't become too adapted to one type of exercise and continues to provide a new challenge.
Incorporate Interval Training for Added Intensity
You can make the most of your cardio training sessions by incorporating interval training. Internal training includes an exercise that includes short periods of high-intensity exercise followed by a lesser-intensity "rest period."
Steady-state cardio is a great workout, but it could cause your body to become adapted without posing enough of a challenge. Interval training is a technique you can with any type of cardio exercise, such as a walking/jogging interval plan.
Adding interval training to your cardio routine can keep you challenged. Not only do you add intensity to workouts, but you're able to get more bang for your buck. Interval workouts are great for completing in a short time because high-intensity interval training (HIIT) workouts produce a high caloric burn. When compared to a steady state cardio workout, interval training burns more calories in a shorter period of time.
Use Proper Form and Technique to Avoid Injury
Maintaining proper form is essential to protecting your body and avoiding common injuries during cardio exercise. It might also be helpful to speak to a personal trainer or fitness professional to review the proper form before hitting the gym.
Mastering techniques is essential to improving your cardiovascular fitness and protecting your body in the long term. Also, wearing proper exercise clothing and shoes also goes along with proper form. For example, runners should wear shoes that provide cushion and support.
Stay Hydrated and Fuel Your Body with Nutritious Foods
Fueling your body with wholesome, nutritious foods is essential to crush your workout! Eating real foods and practicing mindful eating practices help ensure your body has enough energy to sustain moderate-to-high intensity cardiovascular workouts. The healthy eating pyramid can help you learn more about making healthy, well-rounded meals.
As you exercise, be sure to drink enough water too. Hydration is key to an exceptional workout! Plus, make sure to drink water throughout the day, not just while you exercise. Pay close attention to signs of dehydration as you exercise, like excessive thirst or dizziness.
Adapting Your Cardio Workout
Exercise will never get boring with these easy ways to maximize your cardiovascular training sessions! By optimizing your cardio workouts, you can achieve better results and stay motivated to keep working toward your goals.
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