Efficient Cardiovascular Exercise
Cardiovascular exercise is as important as strength training in helping you get fit. Dedicate yourself at least 30 minutes each day (up to an hour), and you'll notice changes in your body composition.
Consistent cardio puts you in a generally healthy mindset, which makes all parts of a fitness program easier. Sleeping, eating and exercise habits of a person who's consistent with cardio are generally better because of the healthy way aerobic exercise makes you feel, especially if your workout is in the morning.
Don't worry about exercising at an unreasonably high intensity. Your workout shouldn't be a "stroll in the park" though. You should be able to carry on a conversation, but it should be difficult. If you can't carry on a conversation, you're working too hard.
The most accurate way to make sure you're not wasting your time is to invest in a heart rate monitor (Polar brand is best). The least expensive ones that just tell you what your heart rate is will be fine. As your heart gets stronger and your weight plummets, challenge yourself a couple of times a week with higher intensity workouts or occasional power surges in your normal workouts. Monitors can help ensure you're doing this at an appropriate intensity.
Prioritize exercise. Plan on when and where you'll do your cardio each week, and you're more likely to stick to it than if you just say, "I'll do it sometime." If you know that 11 o'clock each day is workout time, then it becomes a routine that's easy to maintain.
Weight loss comes twice as fast. Not only will cardio burn extra fat quickly, it also strengthens your heart muscle, decreasing risk of America's #1 killer – heart disease. 85,000 people die each year from heart disease in California alone! Lots of risk factors are controllable through aerobic exercise – cholesterol and blood pressure levels, smoking, excess weight, lack of exercise and diabetes.
After the first couple of weeks of disciplining yourself consistently, your workouts will begin to seem like much less of an effort – they will become easier (even fun!), you'll become lighter and more energetic and you'll notice an all-around physical and emotional improvement.
Have fun. There are so many ways to get cardiovascular exercise: walking, hiking, jogging, kayaking, dancing, biking, Kooshing at the beach, Frisbee in the sand (especially effective if you and your partner aren't accurate tossers)...anything that gets your heart rate up and your blood pumping fast. Try a few, and you'll definitely find that exercise can be a blast!
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