Cardio is King!

Amy Allen discusses the benefits of cardio and shares tips for better cardio workouts

May 2, 2013
Cardio is King!

Although our society is growing in awareness in fitness and nutrition, we still struggle as an obese society. If you are leaning on government guided, regulated and evaluated nutrition… you should reconsider! A little research into our FDA approved nutrition would have you growing your own food, preparing it all and most likely a vegetarian or vegan. Your biggest worry mom should be the example you are to your children. How active you are and what your nutritional choices are, assist in leading the pathway of your children’s health in the future. Statistically children will be what they have learned in youth. Yikes! These children become our community.

It is never too late to get started; another day is an opportunity to jump-start you and your family’s health! Physical activity and nutrition provide long-term health benefits for everyone! These benefits thankfully are physically and mentally.

This weeks focus is cardio, oh my! I think it is very important to know what it is, how to monitor it and its benefits.

Cardiovascular activity is simply that you are engaged in an activity that will raise your heart rate to a level above your “resting heart rate”. This does not mean you need to be out of breath and gasping for air… it does mean that you step out of your bodies comfort zone and make it work. This working zone is referred to as your target heart rate; this is the rate that is most effective in burning calories and increasing your overall health.

The best way to monitor your heart rate is to measure your resting rate and then your active rate. There are a few ways to do this:

1. The old school medical 101 means is good old fashion fingers and arteries trick. You do this by checking your pulse: Place your index and third fingers on your neck to the side of your windpipe. To check your pulse at your wrist, place two fingers between the bone and the tendon over your radial artery — which is located on the thumb side of your wrist. When you feel your pulse, count the number of beats in 15 seconds. Multiply this number by 4 to calculate your beats per minute.

2. A modern means is you can purchase and use a Heart Rate monitor (usually a combination of a watch and chest band). Polar has a popular and well rated device, I personally use the Timex Iron Man and Nike GPS system. My Nike device monitors my heart rate and calories burned… love it! They can be bought at a local sport store, Amazon, and etc. You do not need an expensive device, just one that works.

There are variations in heart rates due to medical related out put variables; whether congenital or pathological conditions. On average, a normal resting heart rate for adults ranges from 60 to 100 beats a minute.

The goal is vigorous exercise; you want to hit your target heart rate of 70 to 85 percent of your maximum heart rate (MHR). Your MHR (roughly calculated as 220 minus your age) is the upper limit of what your cardiovascular system can handle during physical activity. Example: 220 – 36 years old = 184 max value, so 70-85% means you would stay between 130-155.

Please keep in mind; the numbers are estimates that will of course provide an average value. You can have higher or lower MHR; again some influences are: medical conditions congenitally or pathologically and medications or supplementation.

How much do you need?
To put it in perspective, to lose a pound a week, you must burn 3,500 calories, or 500 calories a day. Wow! So, if you monitor your heart rate with equipment, purchase one that shares calories burned. You want to burn those 500 calories every day. Of course, that means you need to not be replacing them in your diet. Many eat more because of their activity… then wonder why they never loose. Well it is this simple. You need cardiovascular activity that will ensure you burn these calories. Your activity to nutrition must have your body in a deficit. You need to monitor your activity level to what you are burning and pick up the pace!

Get your children up and moving! Your children need aerobic activity 60 or more minutes each day. Be creative, start a trend of after school or dinner walks. Turn on music and have your tot dance… the activity can be a brisk walk or run. Be sure to include vigorous-intensity aerobic activity on at least 3 days per week. Moving their fingers across technology does not count.

Reference the physical activity guidelines set on our government CDC websites:
Click her for guidelines for children
Click here for guidelines for adults

What are the benefits?
The reality is the benefits are endless… truly nothing to think about.

  • Burn calories and help you lose weight “weight control”
  • Promote strong bone, muscle, and joint development
  • Condition your heart and lungs; conditioning means less work for normal function equating to healthy longevity!
  • Prevents chronic disease or reduces the risks of: cancer, heart attack, high cholesterol, high blood pressure and diabetes
  • Feel good and less stress; decreases depression and anxiety
  • Sleep improvement

CARDIO is KING! Oh my, the benefits out way the nagging reality. Select an activity you love and switch it up often… you will not regret it!

Cheering you on!

Amy Allen, IFBB Bikini Pro
Follow Me on Twitter
Follow me on Facebook
Follow Me on Instagram: Ms Amy Allen