Cardiovascular exercise is essential for good health. Cardiovascular exercise is any exercise that lasts more than a minute, increases your heart rate and breathing and done over time will build endurance. It builds muscle, burns calories, increases endurance, and oxygenates the blood. Here are a few examples of cardio that can fit most people’s lifestyle:
It’s best to start slowly and gradually increase time and distance as you continue to exercise.
The American Heart Association recommends that everyone gets 30 minutes of cardiovascular exercise 5-7 times per week.1 The good news is that you don’t need to get the whole 30 minutes at one time. You can spread the exercise into several 10- to15-minute exercise sessions during the day. A brisk walk at lunch can be just the break you need in the middle of the day to feel refreshed for the afternoon.
You can run or bike with a partner, creating a time in your day for social interaction as well as for physical activity. Think of the groups of walkers or bicyclists you have seen—groups provide the accountability, encouragement, and affirmation that can keep you moving.
In the end, it doesn’t matter whether you choose to exercise alone, with friends, or with the family dog. As long as you get out there and move more, you will get “heartfelt” thanks!
Note: You should always contact your physician prior to starting an exercise program, especially if you are very overweight or have cardiovascular disease or any serious chronic disease.
1 “American Heart Association Recommendations for Physical Activity in Adults” American Heart Association, www.heart.org, 3/22/2013
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