How to Increase Cardio Endurance
Cardio workouts are essential for improving heart and lung function and help prevent heart disease and other illnesses, improve muscle mass, and even stave off osteoporosis. For optimum cardio health, you should exercise at a moderate intensity for at least 30 minutes most days of the week.
But don't just get on the treadmill and start running. There are a number of ways to optimize your cardio workout to get the most benefit for your heart, lungs, blood, and blood vessels while avoiding injury and maintaining your motivation.
Interval Training is the King of Cardio
No matter your fitness level, you can start increasing your cardio endurance today with interval training, which not only helps increase cardio endurance more effectively than running or walking at a consistent pace but also revs up your metabolism and increases your fat burn.
You can do interval training on your usual run through the neighborhood, or you can get on the treadmill, elliptical, stationary bike, rowing machine, or any other equipment that gets your heart pumping.
Start with a five-minute warm up and then increase the intensity of your exercise to the anaerobic level, which means your heart is beating at 80 to 90 percent of its maximum heart rate. You'll know when you're at this level when you're unable to speak. Maintain this speed until you can't possibly continue, from 30 to 90 seconds, depending on your fitness level.
Lower the intensity to below 60 percent of your maximum heart rate. When your heart rate has slowed down to the point where you can sing "Happy Birthday" with ease, about one to two minutes, it's time to rev it up again.
Try to perform your intervals at a 1:2 ratio, with the shorter duration at the highest intensity followed by a longer period of lower intensity exercise. Do intervals for the duration of your workout, followed by a five-minute cool down period.
Over time, you'll be able to sustain the higher intensity interval for a longer period of time, which means your cardio endurance is improving.
Incorporate low-impact exercises like swimming and biking into your training to help prevent injury and work your body in different ways, and don't forget that strength training is an essential part of any fitness routine.