Cardiovascular fitness is the ability of the cardiovascular system, made of the heart, lungs and blood vessels, to deliver oxygenated blood to the working muscles for them to be able to keep working by using this oxygen as a form of energy to fuel movement. Cardiovascular fitness also refers to one’s aerobic ability and for how long you can keep doing a certain activity. You can improve your cardiovascular fitness with various methods so today we’ll discuss its importance and how to train it.
As discussed above, cardiovascular fitness depends on our heart, lungs and blood vessels so the higher our cardiovascular fitness the less stress we put on our heart to pump blood around the body which will in turn decrease our chance of developing heart disease.
Furthermore, it also reduces the chances of other diseases such as diabetes, lung problems such as shortness of breath and obesity. Cardiovascular fitness also improves our immunity as there are more production of antibodies which fight illnesses as well as helps us be happier and less stressed people due to the release of the hormones endorphins and dopamine in or blood stream which play a role in reducing anxiety, fatigue and depression.
Cardiovascular exercise also helps in faster recovery in between training days as well as well as during training itself. Going for a light jog, swim or even a walk in between intense sessions as active recovery, will help eliminate by-products in our body while also reducing the chances of delayed onset muscle soreness. Moreover, having a strong heart and lungs will allow for quicker recovery in between sets of high intensity exercise. This happens as there is more oxygen readily available to be used while also getting rid of carbon dioxide and waste products quicker and more effectively, allowing you to push yourself harder when it’s time to go again.
To develop your cardiovascular fitness, try and engage in different types of aerobic exercise that you enjoy typically running, cycling, swimming and even brisk walking. Team sport and racket sport is a great form of training as well as you are continuously running and stopping with small amount of rests for a prolonged period of time.
High intensity interval training or anaerobic / alactic exercise is also very good in which case you alternate a bout of maximal intense exercise with around 3 mins of low intensity exercise. Since this is quite challenging and you tend to need a good training age to be able to do it efficiently, another way would be alternating 30s of near maximal anaerobic exercise with 30s – 1 min aerobic activity. Try and do any of the methods described for around 30-60mins 3-4 times a week for it to be beneficial.
As discussed above, cardiovascular fitness and developing our aerobic system is very important for a number of reasons but we should still not neglect other training methods that work on other aspects of our health such as strength training and mobility. We advise that you vary your training accordingly to be able to work on different aspects throughout the week.
If you'd like to learn more about how to structure your workout to optimise your fitness success, feel free to get in touch for a commitment-free chat about your fitness goals.