Why Do I Need Cardiovascular Activity?

Cardiovascular activity can not only burn tons of calories, but also expand your lung capacity, flex your heart muscle, and release those oh-so-fabulous endorphins into the brain! But many people fall into a habitual cardio routine, doing the same thing day after day. Your body is a remarkable machine and adapts quickly so doing the same routine repeatedly without varying your activities doesn’t allow your body to burn maximum fat and calories!

Fortunately, cardio is the most versatile of my three-part approach to fitness. You can get really creative – from power-walks to hiking, hip-shaking salsa and belly dancing to training for a marathon. It’s important to learn new ways to make cardio workouts more exciting and effective, as well as open your mind to different activities and sports.

Cardiovascular training is literally “training your heart.”

Here are a few tips on listening to your body’s signals to maximize your workout:

• Take it slow when trying a new sport, activity, or any of my workout DVDs or downloadable workouts for the first time.

• If ever you feel dizzy, faint, or sick to your stomach, or if your heart is racing, stop immediately! Walk around slowly or sit upright in a chair until you feel better. Do not put your head between your legs or lie prone, as that will result in a sudden rush of blood to the brain. Once recovered, drink fluids, and if you experience this again, consult your physician.

• When doing cardio outdoors, be aware of your environment. Wear sunscreen at all times, and carry water everywhere, sip it frequently. Remember, your body is about 70% water, so take care to re-hydrate when exercising in the sun for long periods of time. Even mild dehydration can lead to a nagging headache, and at worst, to heat stroke.

Gauging Your Intensity

The key to successful weight and fat loss is training with the proper intensity. Working at an effectively challenging level will spark your metabolism and encourage your body to strip away that stubborn body fat!

Use a heart rate monitor to get a super-accurate reading on how many times your heart is beating per minute.

Finding your Maximum Heart Rate (MHR):

Your Maximum Heart Rate (MHR) is your exercise ceiling. That is 220 – your age = MHR. For Example, MHR for 28 year-old women is 200 – 28 = 192. This woman’s MHR is192 beats per minute.

Intensity is gauged as a percentage of your MHR, so your Target Heart Rate is the zone in which you’ll want to work for any given activity. Ideally, that Target Heart Rate zone is 50-70% or 60-85% of your MHR.

Finding your Target Heart Rate (THR):

220 – your age x 60%
220 _ your age x 70%

For  Example THR for a 28-year old women is

220 – 28 x .60
= 114-134
220 – 28 x .70

This woman’s target heart rate range (between 114 and 134 beats per minute) is the range in which she will have the most effective training and best fat-burning results.

Two 20-minute workouts designed to give you maximum fat burning results in minimum time!

Fit Fact

Often the cause of insistent knee or ankle pain is those little rubber-soled guys that cover your feet. Athletic shoes only have a life span of about three months when used consistently, so invest in a pair of good cross-trainers and see if your pain doesn’t dissipate.

Mix it Up

Taking your cardio workout uphill or on an incline can double your calorie burn. Do your walking workout in the hills, ramp up that treadmill or take your morning walk up the stadium stairs. Wear your heart rate monitor to see the difference for yourself. And, as an extra bonus, uphill training equals a great butt workout!

One of my favorite cardio workouts is Cardio Fat Burner. With this workout, you get two 20-minute workouts designed to give you maxium fat burning results in minimum time!

Here’s to your health,