April 5, 2013 | Filed Under Cardio | No Comments
Cardio is short for cardiovascular, which refers to the heart. Cardio exercise raises your heart rate and keeps it elevated. This type of exercise strengthens your heart and lungs, reduces stress, boosts your metabolism, helps you lose weight, increases energy and even helps you sleep better at night. If you want to gain these benefits, you need to know how high your heart rate needs to be and how long to keep it there.
Calculating Your Target Heart Rate
Figure out your target heart rate to get the most out of a cardio workout. To reach that number, you first have to calculate your maximum heart rate. If you are a woman, subtract your age from 226. If you are a man, subtract it from 220. That number is your maximum heart rate.
The American Heart Association suggests that your target heart rate zone is 50 to 75 percent of your maximum heart rate. If you don’t use your training grips often and are just starting to get in shape, stick closer toward 50 percent. If you use your workout gloves every day and are already in great shape, aim for 75 percent.
Here is a sample calculation for a woman who is new to cardio training:
226 minus 40 (her age) = a maximum heart rate of 180 beats per minute
180 times 50% = a target heart rate of 90 beats per minute
Cardio Workout Zones
When you workout at 50 to 60 percent of your maximum heart rate, you are in what is called the “Healthy Heart Zone.” This zone is ideal for people who are new to fitness training, and you can reach it just by walking.
Working out at 60 to 70 percent of your maximum heart rate puts you in the “Fat Burning Zone.” Jogging slowly should put you in this range, and keeping your heart rate at this level can improve your cardiovascular health, helping you gain muscle mass and burn fats.
At 70 to 80 percent of your maximum heart rate, you are in the “Aerobic Zone.” You can reach this point by running; also, working out in this zone improves your lung capacity and the ability of your heart to pump blood.
Do you pack a heart rate monitor in your gym bag with your workout gloves? Which cardio workout zone do you try to reach while exercising?
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March 4, 2013 | Filed Under Cardio | No Comments
Building a chiseled chest or toned abs may make you look great, but improving your heart health will make you feel great too. What’s the point of a great chest if what’s inside it isn’t working up to snuff? To reach a good level of cardiovascular fitness, you must make cardiovascular exercise a regular part of your life. Any activity that raises your heart rate continuously will do the trick! Here are 3 big tips to achieving a chiseled chest and a healthy heart:
- Protect Your Heart by Strengthening Your Chest
As you build a stronger heart through cardio, protect it by strengthening your chest through weightlifting exercises. Work your upper chest with cable presses and cable flies, get great pecs with dumbbell presses and bench presses, and complete 3 to 4 sets of 8 to 12 reps of each exercise twice a week to build a chiseled and healthy chest.
- Duration of Cardio for a Healthy Heart
Regular cardio workouts help improve many risk factors for heart disease. It maintains weight loss, lowers your blood pressure and makes your heart stronger and more efficient. Working out also lowers bad cholesterol while raising the good kind. All of these factors make your heart stronger and healthier.
While any amount of physical activity is better than none at all, aim for at least 30 minutes of vigorous activity on most days of the week to really boost your heart health.
If you have never exercised before, don’t try to jump rope for 30 minutes on your first try. Doing too much too soon will only lead to burnout and injuries. If you are just starting out, talk to your health-care professional before reaching for your fitness grips.
- Best Exercises for Chiseled Chest & Healthy Heart
This is a common question, but the answer depends on your personal preferences. The best type of cardio exercise is the one you will stick with and enjoy. For you, it may be swimming; for others, it may be jogging or cycling or climbing mountains. Make the decision to improve your cardiovascular health, find an activity you love, grab your gym gloves and go!
February 25, 2013 | Filed Under Cardio | No Comments
You don’t have to turn into a hardcore athlete to improve your heart health. Even moderate exercise can greatly lower your risk of heart disease while improving your flexibility, endurance and strength. While any type or amount of physical activity will benefit your overall health, these cardiovascular exercises will best benefit your heart. Grab your fitness grips and get ready to work for your heart health!
- Brisk Walking
Our bodies were made for walking. This is a natural way to improve your fitness, whether you hit the road or take it to the treadmill. Strap on your iPod, wear comfortable, supportive walking shoes and get moving. Although even a leisurely stroll is better than lounging on the couch, push yourself to walk at a fast pace to reach a moderate intensity level.
Easy on the joints and low-impact, cycling can be done on the road or trails, or in the gym or a spin class. Bike to work or to do errands, join a cycling club or sign up for a road race. As your heart is pumping, you will tone your lower body and core muscles.
- Interval Training
If the thought of a solid hour of aerobic exercise bores you, try mixing up your cardio with interval training. For every three minutes of cardio, do one minute of strength training exercises, like lifting with your training grips or doing old-school push-ups. Interval training keeps you motivated to exercise while improving your endurance, heart health and muscular strength.
Sure, the pool is a great place to float along lazily, but it can also provide a full-body fitness challenge. Raise your heart rate and improve your cardiovascular health by taking a water fitness class or swimming laps. The water will boost your muscle tone and strength because it provides multi-directional resistance.
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February 14, 2013 | Filed Under Cardio | No Comments
Everyone knows that cardiovascular exercise can keep you slim and trim, but did you know that it also helps prevent diseases, improves your mood and more? Read on to discover some of the lesser-known benefits of cardio, then hit the gym with your workout gloves to reap them!
- Combat Disease
Cardiovascular exercise increases your HDL “good” cholesterol and reduces unhealthy triglycerides. This helps keep your blood flowing smoothly and reduces your risk of cardiovascular disease. Regular cardio workouts can also help you prevent or manage depression, metabolic syndrome, stroke, type 2 diabetes, arthritis and even some types of cancer. If you already experience one of these conditions, cardio exercise may help alleviate your symptoms.
- Improve Your Mood
A brisk walk or a cardio workout at the gym can give you an emotional lift. Physical activity, including cardiovascular exercise, stimulates brain chemicals that make you feel more relaxed and happier. If you are having a bad day, grab your crossfit gloves and sweat your blues away!
- Sleep Better
Regular cardio activity can help deepen your sleep and help you fall asleep faster.
- Put the Spark Back in the Bedroom
Working out makes you feel more energized and improves your appearance. These factors can have a positive effect on your sex life, but regular physical activity can also lead to a reduction in erectile dysfunction for men and enhanced arousal for women.
- Strengthen Your Respiratory System
Aerobic exercise makes your respiratory system more efficient so it can more easily supply oxygen to your body.
- Overcome Cravings
A brief but pulse-pounding workout can decrease cravings for foods like chocolate by up to 12 percent. Next time a bag of potato chips is calling your name, take a hike instead of indulging. Ten to fifteen minute bouts of cardio also reduce cravings for nicotine.
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December 11, 2012 | Filed Under Cardio | No Comments
Flat abs are a sign of peak physical fitness, but crunches alone won’t give you a toned, taut look. The once-popular exercise can actually do more harm than good when it comes to creating a ripped stomach. Instead of doing endless amounts of crunches, stick to these tips to get the six-pack abs you want.
- Follow a Six-Pack Diet
Diet is just as important as exercise to getting a flat washboard stomach. The key to getting flat abs is to control your portion sizes, moderate your intake of simple carbs and stick to lean proteins. Skip the pasta, potatoes, chips and fried chicken in favor of sweet potatoes, oatmeal, brown rice, beans, quinoa, white fish and skinless grilled chicken.
- Get 30 Minutes of Cardio a Day
Everyone has six-pack abs, but for most people, they are hidden by a layer of fat. The key to revealing your abs is burning fat, and getting 30 minutes of aerobic exercise while following a healthy diet can reduce your body fat. Strength training can also burn fat, so grab your GRIPAD® training gloves and hit the weight room.
- Work Your Muscles More Efficiently
Instead of doing seemingly endless amounts of crunches and seeing little results, maximize your gym time by doing Swiss ball rollouts. Place your fists on a workout ball, then extend your body like a bridge. A tweak of the classic plank, the exercise requires you to brace your spine, creating a stronger core. The move maximizes your workout time because it is about 25 percent more efficient for working both the upper and lower abs than the crunch.
- Challenge Yourself with Variations of the Plank
The basic plank works the whole core, resulting in toned and taut abs. Once you can hold the basic move for 90 seconds with ease, push yourself to try more challenging variations, like the side plank or elevated plank. These are fundamental poses practiced in yoga, so take a class or two to learn how to align the body correctly and develop some great core/ab workouts!
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October 17, 2012 | Filed Under Cardio | No Comments
Are you looking for ways to blast your abs and deepen the visible lines that define your six pack? You’re definitely not alone. But if you’re doing thousands of crunches and don’t seem to be getting fast results, consider some of these simple workout tips.
- Genetics: The rectus abdominus is actually just one large muscle that covers the stomach, and the grid that forms a six pack is a net of connective tissue, or fascia, that overlays the muscle. Some of us are genetically inclined to have deeper lines than others, no matter how many sit ups we do.
- Fat Loss: Don’t let genetics hold you back. Keep in mind that visible abs don’t just come from muscle strength; they also need to come from fat loss. Fat loss can’t be targeted to specific areas of the body and, as we lose weight, the body tends to shed fat from almost every other area before it’s willing to let go of the thin pad of fat that covers the abs. Even highly conditioned athletes still tend to have a fine layer of fat in that spot which is biologically designed to protect our vulnerable internal organs.
- Cardio & Core: Crunches are great but they should be supplemented with cardio exercises that drive up the heart rate and melt away fat. This should also be balanced with total core workouts that include push-ups, planks and other moves that target the back, hips, and obliques. Running, dancing, suspension training, and balance exercises can all work together to focus tension on the core and drive the heart rate up.
- Nutrition: Ab-focused workout programs need the support of a great nutritional plan. This means whole foods; mostly vegetables, high quality protein found in nuts, seeds, and grass-fed pasture-raised meat, and complex carbohydrates like whole grains (boxed cereal does not count, contrary to what the commercials say they are not whole grains.)
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May 4, 2011 | Filed Under Cardio, Weightlifting | No Comments
Glycogen is a polysaccharide that is the main carbohydrate storage in people and animals. It is found mostly in liver and muscle tissue and what it does is convert glucose (sugars) into energy for our bodies. By following a regiment of strength training, followed by a serious session of cardiovascular exercise, the body uses the aforementioned glycogen as a fuel source. So a 30 minute strength training workout effectively attacks the sugar stores in your body, thus preparing the cardio process to hit the remaining fat stores.
With the sugars effectively curtailed in your body – you go straight to the source, which are the fat stores. The strength training knocks down the glycogen levels in your muscles and the cardio comes in and uses the fat as your new energy source. This will trim and increase the leanness of your body, while also providing the necessary steps to build “lean” muscle mass while at the same time increasing metabolic rate – Thus, you will burn more calories throughout the day when working on weights first, and following that up with your cardio burn.
On the other hand, if one is trying to solely build muscle mass, the body may use too much protein with a helping of cardio after the strength training. For weightlifters, a repair and rebuild mode may be the best, with a meal – instead of cardio – following your weightlifting session. For a person looking to build muscle, a light cardio workout would be better before lifting in an effort to get bigger and stronger.
Different experts have differing opinions on what is the actual proper routine. Many will recommend weightlifting one day, followed by cardio the next. Or they will tell their clients to break up the different exercise methods, one in the morning, and one at night. For many busy people, though, this just isn’t feasible. Still other experts will offer a different starting point each day – whether it be cardio or weightlifting – with the variety helping to fuel them through their respective workouts. In the end, what it comes down to is what you want out of your workout and the effort you’re willing to put in to get those results. For big muscle, try light cardio followed by strength training. For those looking to cut fat and get leaner, try weightlifting followed by an intense brand of cardio exercise.