Whether you’re training to snag a marathon PR or simply want to be able to ride your bike to your next yoga class without getting winded, your cardiovascular endurance is crucial. Here’s how to boost it.
Use the talk test, he suggests, to track your progress – exercise at a level of intensity where you can comfortably carry on a conversation. Then keep increasing the effort until you reach your target.
Whether on a solitary path in nature, on the sidewalks of a busy city or on a treadmill workout, walking is one of the best forms of exercise for boosting endurance and improving heart health. It’s cheap, convenient and can be done almost anywhere. And, unlike more vigorous exercise, it doesn’t come with a host of risks.
Studies have shown that people who walk regularly improve their cardiovascular (CV) health, including lowering their blood pressure, cholesterol and fat levels. They also have lower rates of chronic diseases such as obesity, diabetes and osteoporosis.
Aim for 20 minutes of brisk walking daily to get the benefits. To know if you’re exerting yourself enough, check your heart rate periodically (using a wearable device or by pressing the tips of your index and middle fingers against the inside of your wrist) to see if it’s beating faster than normal, but at a level where you can still talk.
Running is a high-intensity workout that trains both the aerobic energy system and the anaerobic energy systems. It burns lots of calories, but also improves the heart’s endurance and can help lower blood pressure over time.
It’s a low-cost and portable exercise, making it perfect for people who can’t get to the gym or have limited time. Plus, it’s an excellent way to burn extra calories when you need a little boost with weight loss.
But it’s important to be careful. As a recent study from the Cooper Clinic highlighted, consistent, long-distance running can lead to heart problems in some athletes. One expert warned that excessive running can cause the heart to develop scar tissue and plaque buildup in the arteries, which increases the risk of a heart attack. Despite these concerns, researchers have found that regular, moderate-intensity workouts, such as jogging and brisk walking, can significantly reduce your chances of death over the long term.
As with running, kickboxing is a great cardiovascular exercise that strengthens and tones every muscle in the body. Combined with proper diet and stretching, it is also a great fat-burning workout.
This type of high-intensity interval training (HIIT) typically involves short bouts of activity – two to three minutes long – followed by brief rest. This is perfect for improving your cardiovascular endurance because it trains your heart to work harder and faster.
Another benefit of this type of exercise is that it improves both anticipatory and reactive balance, which can help reduce the risk of falls or injury. It can also increase your ability to move with confidence in your everyday life. This is because kickboxing exercises involve swift, whole-body movements that challenge your mind-muscle coordination. In a study, participants who trained for an hour a day three days a week saw an increase in their maximum oxygen intake (VO2 max), as well as a decrease in their belly fat percentage.
If you’ve been returning from every jog with a limp or gritting through every jump shot of your pick-up game with nagging pain, swimming may be the answer. This gentle exercise is great for the heart, lungs and blood vessels—and it’s easier on the joints. That’s why it’s so popular among people with arthritis and other chronic conditions. It also helps guard against cardiovascular disease (CVD), which includes all kinds of heart problems, like high blood pressure and heart failure.
To boost your endurance, vary the pace of your workouts and don’t rest too long between them. This will help your body adapt more quickly and improve your results. Download the MySwimPro app for personalized workouts and Training Plans that will help you train more efficiently. Click here to get started.