Cardio Training General Information
Cardiovascular exercise is essential for achieving and maintaining weight loss and to maximize your overall fitness level. There are many benefits to cardio training:
- Increases aerobic capacity
- Strengthens the heart
- Decreases resting heart rate promoting longevity of the heart muscle
- Promotes a decrease in blood pressure
- Increases the body’s ability to get fuel to the muscles
- Helps to increase muscular endurance
- Promotes fat loss
- Reduces risks of some cancers
- Helps to reduce stress
Basic Theory of Cardio Training and its Effects
There are three main different types of cardio training programs. To achieve the overall best results it is important to utilize at least the first two types. The third type of cardio exercise is primarily for athletes. Using both methods makes your body more adaptable and therefore more efficient. The different types of programs and their effects on the body are as follows.
- Steady Pace Aerobic Training – medium to long duration, constant intensity
- Interval Training – short to medium duration – variable intensity
- Anaerobic Training – short duration – high intensity
Steady pace aerobic training is excellent for building a base fitness level and training for events of longer duration. This type of training is done at a constant intensity. It is an excellent way to train if you are a beginner, as there is a low risk of injury due to the lower intensity and constant pace. With this type of training the body becomes more effective at delivering oxygen and energy to the muscles that need it.
Interval training combines short, high intensity bouts of exercise with lower intensity recovery periods and is excellent for seeing large improvements in heart function and efficiency. It forces the body to become more efficient at recovering from high intensity bursts while still working.
Anaerobic training builds power and explosive sprint ability and is used primarily for athletic training.
Provided you are working at the correct intensity, and for the right duration, the type of cardiovascular activity you do (i.e. cycling, running, walking, stair climbing) has little bearing on the results you will achieve. If you want to be a good cyclist, then yes, you should cycle more, but if you just want to get fit, the more variety the better. Some exercises burn slightly more calories than others, but the benefits of forcing your body to adapt to many types of exercise outweigh this slight difference in calories burned.
During the Workout
Fitness gains are achieved by consistently challenging your body to progressively perform more work during your workouts.
- Progressive overload results in an increase in your body’s function and efficiency.
- To achieve results, workouts must be done at intensities higher than what the body is accustomed to.
- You can vary the amount of overload by changing factors such as: the frequency of workouts during the week, the intensity of the workouts, the duration of the workouts, or changing the type of activity you are doing.
- This progressive overload can be used by everyone from beginner to advanced clients.
Although workouts may feel quite challenging at first, there is a steep progression curve with cardio exercise. You will find that in a relatively short period of time, usually no more than a few weeks, you will be able to perform at higher intensities, for longer durations with relatively less effort.