Day 15: Amp up your Cardio
A loose definition of cardio is, ‘continuous movement of the large muscles of the body with a constant supply of oxygen.’
Let’s cover the basics to make sure you are getting the most from your cardio session to achieve your weight loss and conditioning goals. First up is frequency. How many times are you getting in your cardio per week? I hope your answer was 3-5! That is the standard. If you are a beginner, aim for 2-3 and work up to 4-5. If you are experienced, make sure you are giving your body a break and not exceeding 5-6 sessions/wk.
How long are these sessions? Duration should be 20-40 minutes for the average person. Again, a beginner level is 20-30 min, maybe even as few as 10 min if you aren’t used to being on equipment. Generally, the easiest form of cardio for most people is walking. Even an ‘out of shape’ person should be able to get a good 15 min walk. Go at your pace, and build up!
Speaking of pace, how hard are you working out? What’s your intensity? The general guidelines are 50-85% of heart rate maximum (220 – age x .50 to .85) or 60-80% heart rate reserve (220 – age – resting heart rate x .60 to .80 + resting heart rate). Some of the ways to measure heart rate are taking your radial (wrist) pulse, or wearing a heart monitor. When you work with a trainer, we usually use the ‘talk test’ while you are on your cardio. If you are winded, but still able to carry a conversation, you are generally in a good zone. Tomorrow we’ll tackle some different forms of cardio exercise.
Fit tip: make sure you know a ‘safe zone’ for your heart! Buy a heart rate monitor or get good at taking your radial pulse. Hint – don’t use your thumb, it has a pulse of it’s own!
Let me know what you’re doing for cardio!! Leave a comment below. If you need any help, contact me. Enjoy your workout Paula
This is part of a series ’31 Days to Stay on Track with your New Year’s Resolutions’ Jan 2011. ©Paula D’Andrea. All rights reserved.