Cardiovascular activity is anything that increases your heart rate for a period of time, gets more oxygen into your blood and puts you into an ‘aerobic’ state of work. Technically, exercise ‘counts’ as being cardiovascular when your heart rate increases to over 55% of its normal maximum rate, for a period of 10 minutes or more.
Why is it good for us? It’s simple: the faster you move, the more calories you burn. Moving around, energetically, burns more calories than sitting still – so if you’d like to increase your fitness levels and perhaps lose some weight at the same time, then it’s a good idea to include cardiovascular (or cardio) work in your exercise routine.
- Walk at a comfortable pace for around 5 minutes – loosen up
- Increase your speed a little, you should still be able to talk comfortably
- Speed up a little more, until chatting would be tricky – this may be a jog, or if your fitness levels have increased over time, you may find that you need to actually run to .
- Decrease your speed, ease down to a brisk walk again
- Slow down, back to your ‘comfortable’ pace
… and relax.
Consistency is the key. Start a cardio routine that you can maintain. And if your aim is to increase your fitness levels, but you’re not sure about how to start, there’s nothing simpler than a walk – which will boost your cardiovascular activity and set you off in the right direction.
Remember, if weight loss through exercise is your goal, then you need to burn enough calories to make a significant impact. In general, if you haven’t worked out for a while, then you’ll burn only 4 or 5 calories for each minute of cardiovascular exercise, while a very fit person could burn over 10 calories per minute.