To maximize the effectiveness of your cardiovascular workouts, you must monitor and vary your exercise intensity and exercise choice.
The most effective method of monitoring cardiovascular intensity is by your heart rate. However, to accurately determine at what heart rate you should be exercising requires laboratory testing or testing conducted by a Heart Zones Training® professional. In lieu of monitoring your heart rate, you may opt for a more do-it-yourself method of assessing exercise intensity: perceived exertion or simply ask yourself “how hard does this feel?"
By using the chart below, you will be able to exercise at an appropriate intensity to achieve the results you are striving toward during your cardiovascular training.
How Hard Does This Feel?
1 “Very Easy" Able to carry on conversation as if you were sitting and talking.
2 “Easy" Aware of breathing, very comfortable talking.
3 “Moderate Effort" Aware of breathing, very comfortable talking.
4 “Somewhat Hard" Very Aware of breathing, still comfortable talk.
5 “Hard" Very Aware of breathing, still comfortable talk.
6 “HARD" Can still talk, but not comfortably.
7 “Very Hard" Can still talk, but not comfortably.
8 “Very, Very Hard" Can't talk, except for short phrases.
9 “At My Limit" Can't talk, except for short phrases.
10 “Beyond My Limit" Can't talk, except for short phrases.
How Hard Should I Exercise?
To achieve all the benefits of cardiovascular training, it's important to train at all intensities, however, here are a few guidelines to achieve specific results:
To achieve health benefits (i. e.decreased blood pressure, decreased risk of heart disease and diabetes, etc. ), perform the majority of your cardiovascular exercise feeling like a “1" or “2".
To attain overall fitness, divide the time you dedicate to cardiovascular exercise in the following manner:
- 10% Feeling like a “1" to “2"
- 40% feeling like a “3" to “4"
- 50% Feeling like a “5" to “6"
To maximize cardiovascular fitness, divide the time you dedicate to cardiovascular exercise in the following manner:
- 10% Feeling like a “1" to “2"
- 10% Feeling like a “3" to “4"
- 65% Feeling like a “5" to “6"
- 10% Feeling like a “7" to “8"
- 5% Feeling like a “9" to “10"
Finally, no matter what results you are striving toward, varying your choice of cardiovascular exercise mode (i. e. walking, swimming, biking, etc. ), maximizes your results.
Perform at least two of the following modes of exercise per week: biking, swimming, running, walking, elliptical trainer, stair climber, step aerobics, indoor cycling, stair climbing, jump roping, inline skating, dancing, or anything that increases your heart rate and makes you breath harder for an extended period of time.
By monitoring and varying cardiovascular exercise intensity and choice of exercise mode, you can ensure that you will achieve the results you striving toward.
Denise Jelinek is an expert personal trainer and wellness coach, focused on improving lives through authentic fitness and wellness.
She believes that health is one of our greatest gifts and that maintaining it shouldn't be difficult, therefore she provides real life, easy-to-apply, practical methods to improve health and fitness. Get FREE workouts and sign up for our FREE weekly newsletter at http://www.MyRealLifeFitness.com