What is Cardio Training?
The whole idea of cardio training is to improve one's cardiovascular fitness. In other words it is about improving the function of the heart.
In order to improve the function of the heart and improve one's level of cardio or aerobic fitness you must extend yourself above the level of what you are doing in your normal day to day activities. As you progress you must continue to push yourself to harder levels in order to see continual improvement. The biggest thing to remember is to do this in small steps and make those small steps over a long period of time. This is always my recommendation whether I am designing a resistance/weight training routine or a programme to improve ones general/cardiovascular fitness.
How hard do I push myself?
The first step to knowing how hard to push yourself is to work out you predicted maximum heart rate ( PMHR). You can work this out by subtracting your age from 220 beats per minute (bpm).
Age- 40 220 - 40 = 180 bpm( Predicted Maximum Heart Rate or PMHR ).
This will give you an approximate heart rate to work from to determine what level of intensity you want to train at. As I said this is predicted so it will only give you an indication of how hard to train. Once you have worked out your PMHR then you can work out what level of intensity you are to push yourself to by working out a percentage of that figure.
Age- 40 Predicted MHR = 180 bpm. Easy 60% of PMHR = 108 bpm
75% of PMHR = 135 bpm
85% of PMHR = 153 bpm
When you are starting out it pays to stick to an easy level of intensity e.g. 60% of PMHR. As you improve you can increase the level of intensity.
Obviously as your cardio fitness improves it will take a more effort to keep your heart rate up to your target / training heart rate. This is a good indicator that your fitness level is on the improve.
Also as you progress it is recommended to vary your intensity level to make sure you dont overtrain. If you are working at 60% of PMHR then you could train for 45minutes to an hour. If you work at 75% it may pay to cut your workout to 30 minutes and if you work at the hardest level it would be recommended to only train for short bursts maybe alternating between the hard intensity level and an easier level.
How do I measure my heart rate during exercise?
The most common way to measure your heart rate is to take your pulse.
Obviously taking your pulse for a whole minute is a hassle so divide your target heart rate into six so you only have to do a ten second count to make sure you are sticking to the right intensity level.
Age- 40 Medium 135 bpm divided by 6 = 22-23b/10sec.
Another more convenient way to take your heart rate is to use a heart rate monitor. This device is worn as a watch and tells you your heart rate and can even be set up to beep at you if your heart rate goes too low or too high. As you get better at measuring your heart rate you can also go by how you are feeling. For instance if you are talking to someone sitting next to you and it is easy to talk to them you are probably not pushing yourself hard enough. if you are unable to talk and you intend to do a half an hour cardio session it would pay to cut back the intensity so you can complete the allocated time.
What type of activity improve your cardio fitness?
One of the biggest keys to maintaining an exercise routine is to make sure you have variety. If you are a novice then a simple walk would be a good start to improve your cardiovascular fitness. As you progress you can first increase the length and then the speed at which you walk. From there you can start including small hills and onto more challenging terrain. You could even consider light jogging or running to increase the intensity of the exercise. You could also look at swimming, cycling or playing a sport. In a gym situation you could make the most of the stationery bikes, rowers, treadmills or crosstrainers.
Temple Fitness have added the Body Blitz group classes into our arsenal to help with extra motivation. You can add these to your membership with a concession or you can upgrade to our Gold Membership where you get two Body Blitz classes for free a week!!!