Now that you are ready to get fitter and healthier, let’s take things a step further. Let’s take a look at one of the most effective and simplest forms of exercise that you can take, how to ensure that you are doing it properly and how to keep your progress going, avoiding the results plateau that demotivates so many people.
What is cardio?
Ok, so it’s simple. Cardiovascular exercise is anything that gets your heart rate going. Walking, jogging, running, cycling, hillwalking, dancing, basically anything at all. Once you’re getting moving, your heart is pumping and you are circulating blood around the body, that’s cardiovascular exercise.
Why is it good for you?
It’s good because it improves basically everything about your health. It’s great for your lungs, your muscles, your mind for relieving stress, in fact there is nothing that cardiovascular exercise won’t improve, it’s that straight forward. When you exercise, you release endorphins into your bloodstream, these are also called happy hormones, since they make you feel good. The best part of all that for the most part is that cardiovascular exercise is free or very close to it. There are such few barriers to doing it, making it more accessible than any other type of exercise. Free is good and free means that you really have no excuse not to do it.
How to ensure you get the most from your cardio
Here is the first thing to remember. To get the best results you must ensure that you are working hard enough, an easy stroll isn’t going to get you many results or improvements, so you must work harder. There are lots of ways to do this, from HIIT (High intensity interval training) where you work hard and then recover us a heart rate monitor to check your recovery rate But let’s try make it free. The talk test point simply states that you should be out of breath but still able to have a conversation when you are exercising, or still able to talk to count to ten.
My next piece of advice is all about change. Change your workout as often as you can. Change your route, the profile of that route, your pace, anything at all. By changing your workouts, you are constantly challenging the body and improving the results you are going to get. Doing the same workout over and over means that your body gets used to the workout and slows down the rate of change.
Train with someone fitter than you
This is a simple one I use myself all the time. If you want to walk faster or run faster, by surrounding yourself with fitter people you will work hard to keep up with them. Improving your progress and getting competitive can always be a good thing too.
These tips will get you started on the right track with your cardiovascular exercise, they will get you fast results and benefits, they will improve your mental health and overall health quickly too.
You can now download Karl Henry's 'Movement for mood' series here. You can also read Karl’s other blogs on laya.ie/thrive/health, or check out his Real Health Podcast here.