Cardiovascular

CardioA simple definition of cardiovascular exercise is any exercise that raises your heart rate to a level where you can still talk, but you start to sweat a little.

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At least 20 minutes of cardiovascular exercise 3 or 4 days a week should be enough to maintain a good fitness level. Any movement is good, even house or yard work. But if your goal is to lose weight, you will need to do some form of cardiovascular exercise for 4 or more days a week for 30 to 45 minutes or longer.

Did You Know…..

The ideal cardiovascular exercise program starts with a 5 to 10 minute warm up, which includes gentle movements that will slightly increase your heart rate. Then, slowly move into 20 or more minutes of a cardiovascular exercise of your choice, such as aerobics, jogging on a treadmill, or walking, to reach what is called your Target Heart Rate (look at chart below). Your target heart rate is a guideline that can help you measure your fitness level before the start of your program and help you keep track of your progress after you begin an exercise program. Target heart rate also lets you know how hard you are exercising. If you are beginning an exercise program, you should aim for the low end of your target heart rate zone. If you exercise regularly, you may want to work out at the high end of the zone.

To stay within your target heart rate zone, you will need to take your pulse every so often as you exercise. You can find your pulse in 2 places: at the base of your thumb on either hand (radial pulse), or at the side of your neck (carotid pulse). Put your first 2 fingers over your pulse and count the number of beats within a 10 second period. Multiply this number by 6, and you will have the number of heartbeats in a minute. For example, if you counted your pulse to be 20 during the 10 second pulse count, your heart rate would be 120 beats per minute.

Target Heart Rates by Age

Heartbeats per Minute (% of maximum heart rate)

Age

Low (50%)

High (75%)

20

100

150

25

98

146

30

95

143

35

93

139

40

90

135

45

88

131

50

85

128

55

83

124

60

80

120

65

78

116

70

75

113

NB: If you are taking certain medicines, like beta blockers, you may not be able to reach your target heart rate. Remember, always have your doctor’s approval before beginning any exercise program.

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