Your cardiovascular system is one of the most important systems in the human body. It keeps your heart beating and delivers nutrients to every single part of your body through veins and blood vessels. Most people fail to keep up with and strengthen the vital system and is a major cause for obesity in the U.S. A simple 20 minute walk can elevate your heart-rate by 20% and doing this 3-4 times per week can do amazing things for the body. First off, any type of cardiovascular training can prevent diseases such as cardiovascular disease, coronary artery disease, and high blood pressure (hypertension)
Elevating the heart-rate not only is a factor in preventing diseases, but it burns calories, aids in appetite control, releases endorphins that control stress and anxiety, and so much more. Knowing that the heart is the MOST important muscle, why would anybody not work to strengthen it? If you’re a beginner, and are just starting your fitness journey, anybody will tell you that cardio training is very very important. There are 5 zones in which you can train your cardio vascular system. The first step is calculating your estimated max heart-rate (HR). We do this by subtracting your age from 220. For example if I am 22 years old, then my estimated max HR is 198 bpm. The heart rate zones depend on your cardio-vascular health and your goals. The first zone is 50-60% of your HR max. If my estimated max HR is 198, then zone 1 for me would be 99-118 bpm. You want to be in this zone for 20-30 minutes with a cool down. the longer you stay in each zone, the stronger your cardio system will become, but this of course comes with consistency. Zone 2 is 60-70% of your HR max and is a little higher intensity training such as a medium jog, or the stair-master. Zone 3 is 70-80% of your HR max and the intensity goes up a little more. Zone 3 exercises can include a medium to fast jog, or fast jump-roping depending on your current cardio-vascular health. Zone 4 is 80-90% of your HR max and includes exercises such as short sprints with interval jogging, or just a fast paced jog. Zone 5 is where the real benefits come into play. This is 90-100% of your HR max and can include long distance sprints or jogging, HIIT workouts or high intensity circuit workouts like bleachers and agility workouts. This zone is going to burn the most calories and give you the most benefits of any training.
Any cardiovascular training is called Aerobic exercise. Meaning the body requires oxygen during the workout to perform properly and generate the energy it needs. This is exactly why after a few minutes of cardio, you start breathing heavier. It is the body’s natural response to get more oxygen into the muscles. Short sprints are not an aerobic exercise. They actually use a different system to create energy, using ATPs as the main source, but they are still an excellent exercise to become faster and burn calories.
Now that you know what the HR zones are, and your Max HR, all you need to do is hit those target HR zones for maximum benefits. Remember, the longer you stay in each zone, the better.
-Joey at DyeHard