Our heart has been with us from the time we were formed in our mother’s womb. It has pumped blood ever since that time and continues to do so until today. For those who are blessed to have a longer lifespan, their heart continues to pump faithfully, delivering gallons upon gallons of blood from the heart to the other areas of the body. An amazing organ, the heart continues to pump blood even when we are asleep. When our heart succumbs to heart disease, it greatly reduces its capacity to efficiently carry out its functions. As a result, circulation is impeded and malfunctions such as infarctions and cardiac arrest occurs. Needless to say, when you’re not lucky, your heart could cease to beat right then and there and that would be the end of you.
To keep your heart healthy, you need to work it out through cardiovascular exercises. These workouts make your heart muscles work harder, keeping you from heart disease. How exactly does cardio exercise work towards keeping your heart healthy? Walking, running, biking, swimming, dance aerobics and stair stepper exercises are cardiovascular workouts that are characterized by sustained arm and leg movements. This kind of activity makes your heart and lungs work harder than they normally would when you are not doing anything. When done on a regular basis, your heart and lungs are strengthened, blood circulation is improved and weight loss is achieved. High blood pressure and bad cholesterol levels are lowered with cardiovascular exercises done on most days of the week.
For cardio workouts to work their desired effect, a target heart rate must be sustained during the duration of the activity. At the very least, you need to achieve a target heart rate which is 50 percent of your maximum heart rate. At the most, you can get a target heart rate of 80 percent of your maximum heart rate. To get your maximum heart rate, simply subtract your age from 220. Thus, if you are 30 years old, your maximum heart rate is 190 beats per minute. Your target heart rate is between 95 and 152 beats per minute. If this is a bit complicated for you, you can simply buy a heart rate monitor, a simple device that you can wear during your cardio workouts. The wrist watch display allows you to check if you have reached your target heart rate without the hassle of feeling your pulse and doing it manually. A general guide in performing cardiovascular workouts is to do moderately-intense cardio exercises anywhere from 30 to 60 minutes on most days of the week.
When you are just starting out on your cardio program, go slow and easy. Choose a low-impact activity like walking so you allow your system to adapt. As you get more used to the intensity of the exercise, you can do moderate and then more vigorous cardiovascular exercises. Before you begin any cardio workout, always make sure that you get clearance from your doctor. This is particularly important if you have a history of heart and lung disease. Also, if you are obese, be sure to check with your doctor to determine how much exercise you can do per session.