Cardiovascular Exercise for Women...
Also referred to as aerobic exercise, aerobics, or simply cardio. What is it and how much do you need? Before we talk about how much cardio you should do, you should at least know why it's so important.
Cardiovascular exercise simply means that you're involved in an activity that raises your heart rate to a level where you're working but can still talk.
Benefits of cardiovascular exercise:
- It's one way to burn calories and help you lose weight
- It makes your heart strong so that it doesn't have to work as hard to pump blood
- It increases your lung capacity
- It helps reduce the risk of heart attack, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and diabetes
- It makes you feel good
- It helps you sleep better
- It helps reduce stress
I could go on all day, but you get the point.
You need cardio if you want to get your weight under control and get your stress to a tolerable level.
To get these great benefits you must perform at the correct intensity. One way to monitor your intensity is your heart rate. This can be done on specifically designed equipment or with a portable heart rate monitor, such as Polar, that you wear. Your heart rate is how fast your heart is beating per minute and is expected to increase as the level of exercise increases. In order to reap the positive benefits, you need to elevate your heart rate to the appropriate level. This range is 50% - 85% of your resting heart rate, which is very individualized.
Here is a quick calculation to find where you should be…
226 - (your age) = your maximum heart rate
For example, if you are a 32-year-old woman: subtract 32 from 226
226 - 32 = 194
Then take that number and multiply it by .5, to get your lower end of your target zone. And then multiply that same number by .85 to get the upper end of your zone. For example:
194 x .5 = 97
194 x .85 = 164.9
So, for a 32-year-old woman, an estimate of her maximum heart rate is 194. And her target heart rate zone is between 97 and 164.9 heartbeats per minute.
The closer you push yourself to the top portion of your “zone”, the more benefits you will obtain (and quicker!)
What should you do with that info????
Now that we know why we need it, let’s talk about how much.
The 'official' guidelines say 30-60 minutes most days of the week, but don't feel like you have to start at that level if you're not ready. Perhaps you split the time up throughout the day. What counts is at the end of the day you have increased your movement!
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