Fitness Tip #19 of #31 Get Your Cardiovascular Exercise

Ok I know you’ve been walking for an hour each and every day. And that definitely counts as cardio. But we’re going to ramp things up a bit and develop a more structured cardio program for you. The goal with this structured, intentional cardiovascular program is to begin to increase the amount of time spent with an elevated heart rate. By increasing the intensity of your program you’ll really begin to realize the benefits of being aerobically fit. Here’s how we are going to do it.

You’ll still go for one hour walks every other day. On the day that you don’t go on the walk you’ll add and shorter (20-30 minute) workout at an increased intensity. So how are we going to measure intensity?

Easy, with your heart rate.

This can get a little bit technical but I’ll keep it very simple for you.

Here are some general guideline for you to follow.

Moderate intensity = 50%-65% of your max heart rate
Medium Intensity = 65%-75% of your max heart rate
High Intensity = 75%-85% of your max heart rate

How do you figure your exercise heart rate? Use this formula;

220 – (Your age) X (% of Max heart rate) = Target Heart Rate (THR)

Follow this Example, A 42 year old who wants to exercise at 65% of Max

(220 – 42) X .65 (65%) = THR
178 X .65 = 115

So a 42 year old should exercise  with a heart rate (THR) of 115 beats/minute if the goal is to workout at 65% of maximum.

To calculate your heart beat, simply take your pulse for 15 seconds and multiply by 4. It’s actually easier to double that number twice. So if you take your pulse for 15 seconds and you double it twice you want to end up with a heart rate of 140 beats per minute (in our example, your THR will vary).

So here is the goal for you for this tip. Increase your cardiovascular fitness so that you can maintain a THR of 65% for 30 full minutes. If you can’t do that then I want you to do intervals until you can.

Here is the interval plan

Week 1 Four minutes at your normal walking pace one minute at 65%
Week 2 Three minutes at your normal walking pace 2 minutes at 65%
Week 3 two minutes at normal waking pace 3 minutes at 65%
Week 4 one minute at normal walking pace four minutes at 65%
Week 5 30 minutes at 65%

Ok here the disclaimer

Always warm up for 5-10 minutes prior to the increased intensity exercise. You can stick with the same exercise just perform it at a lower intensity. The above schedule is just a general guideline it may be to conservative for some people and to aggressive for others. Use this strategy to know when it is time to move on. You’re heart rate should return to your normal walking level prior to the next bout of intense exercise. If it doesn’t keep working at that level before moving on.

What type of exercises should you be doing. The simple answer is anything you want.. If you’re walking you may find that you’ll need to jog or run to get your heart rate up to 65%. If you’re fine with running stick with it, just make sure you get a great pair of running shoes. If you want to avoid running then you should probably find a fitness center for your cardiovascular workouts. It’s easy to increase the resistance or elevation on cardio machine to increase your heart rate without running.

You can choose any type of exercise that you like. We’re training heart rate here not movement pattern so you can even do something different each time.

Here is a list of great CV exercises

1. Walking
2. Jogging/Running
3. Swimming
4. Cycling
5. Stair Climbing
6. Elliptical Trainer
7. Aerobic classes (will be tougher to regulate THR)

So pick an activity that you like and every other day you’ll replace your 1 hour walk with more intense cardiovascular exercise.

You’ll experience

1. Increased energy
2. Increase metabolism
3. improved lung function
4. Greater aerobic capacity
5. Decrease resting heart rate
6. All sorts of other really cool physiologically things!

Lets admit one thing here, this tip is awesome. And don’t worry, once you can walk every other day for one hour and do 30 minutes of cardio at 65% of your max you’ll still need to keep progressing. I’ll have a ton of info for you on the site to teach you how….

And I’ll be back tomorrow with fitness tip #20

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