Cardiovascular endurance is an important part of physical fitness. It helps keep the body fit and strong, not to mention, it also adds more excitement and flavor to your usual exercise routine.
To ensure cardiovascular endurance, there are specific exercises, called endurance exercises, that you can do at home, at work, or anywhere outside. These can help enhance your overall body strength. Endurance exercise is one of four primary exercise types (strength exercises, balance exercises, and flexibility exercises). According to the American Heart Association (AHA), you should aim to include all four in your workout, but for now, we will focus on cardiovascular endurance exercises.
What is endurance exercise?
Endurance exercise, also called aerobic exercise is key to keeping your lungs, heart, and circulation in top shape. It also boosts total body fitness. Thus, those who engage in regular endurance exercise also enjoy reduced risk for cardiovascular diseases and diabetes.
Examples of cardiovascular endurance exercise
Also called aerobic exercise, endurance exercise includes physical activities increase the heart and respiratory rate. These include:
- Brisk walking
- Climbing stairs
- Sports like football, tennis, or basketball
How much time should you spend on endurance exercise?
The AHA recommendation for adults is about 2.5 hours of cardiovascular endurance exercises a week. That means you should do one endurance exercise (or more if you are able to) at least 30 minutes in a day for five days a week. If you find 30 minutes to be taxing, you can do 21 minutes per day, seven days a week.
However, it’s also important to be realistic about your goals. If you’ve never done any before and are just about to embark on an exercise routine, make the transition gradual. It’s better to go a slow but steady exercise routine than do it all out only to be burned out in the process.
Increasing cardiovascular endurance through exercise
If you feel your body can handle more activity, you can build more endurance by simply doing extra or increasing the duration or distance. For instance, you can try to do 30-minute walks a day in a span of a week or weeks (whichever you’re more comfortable with). Once you’re comfortable doing that, you can increase the walk to 40 minutes a day or at a longer distance.
You can also choose to ramp up the difficulty. If you started with city roads, you can do a mix of trails and roads the next, or even add a short hike to the mountains next. You can also choose to walk at a faster pace to ready your heart and breathing for more rigorous activities.
Can you do cardiovascular endurance exercises if you have a heart condition?
Some people are afraid to exercise after a heart attack. But regular physical activity can help reduce your chances of having another heart attack.
The AHA actually recommends that patients do light physical activity and exercises after a heart attack or stroke. This is because regular exercise reduces the risk of a similar event from happening.
However, if you recently suffered a heart attack or are suffering from heart disease and other health complications, be sure to talk to your physician first before any exercise regimen to ensure that it is safe and suitable for you.