5 Tips to Improve Your Cardiovascular Fitness

Improving your cardiovascular fitness offers many health benefits, such as better circulation, increased metabolic rate, more energy, greater strength and endurance, protection against chronic disease and much more. Therefore, my goal here is to help you enjoy all these benefits and more by providing you with five tips to improve your cardio fitness.

Play A Sport

Sports are an excellent way to boost your cardiovascular fitness for a number of reasons. They’re a lot of fun, they allow you to socialize with your friends and meet new friends and they generally have a regular schedule, which guarantees that you get consistent cardiovascular exercise. Furthermore, the nature of sports means that you’ll have periods where you’re working at an all-out intensity and periods where you’re exercising at an easier, slower pace. This kind of variety will give your cardiovascular fitness an enormous boost.

Participate is a High Intensity Exercise Class

High intensity exercise classes are another very beneficial way to increase your cardiovascular fitness. Your instructor will not only help you to stay on track, but also make sure that you put in your best effort and not give up. Also, when you participate in a high-intensity exercise group, you will see everyone else working hard and encourage you to do the same. Following a weekly class schedule can also help you to work on your cardiovascular fitness on a regular basis.

Do Cardio Whenever You Can

While it’s a good idea to have scheduled cardiovascular activities such as exercise classes or sports in your routine, you should also look for opportunities during the day where you can spontaneously do some extra cardio.

Walking is probably the easiest way to fit extra cardio into your day and by taking the stairs or leaving the car at home, you can easily add lots of additional walking to your routine. However, if you’re feeling particularly adventurous, you can go beyond walking and do sprints, jumping jacks, burpees or more whenever you have some time to spare.

Do High Intensity Cardio Intervals

No matter what form of cardio you choose to do, you should try to add in some high- intensity intervals into your workout routine. Exercising at high intensity will test your current cardiovascular fitness to its limits and build up your lungs and heart in the process, which results in improved cardiovascular fitness every time you work out. In addition, you will burn more calories than fat, which means that you will expend more calories for greater fat loss down the road.

In a nutshell, you’ll end up in better physical condition with less body fat and better overall health. All very good reasons to add high intensity training into your exercise sessions.

Consistency Is Key

The four tips above are all tremendous ways to develop your cardiovascular fitness. However, if you’re not consistent with your cardio training, they’ll yield limited results. Therefore, to get the most out of these tips, make sure you’re doing some scheduled cardio training at least three to four times per week and including spontaneous cardio exercises into your routine every day.

So, if you find yourself having to catch your breath after walking up the stairs or rushing to catch a bus, now is the time to give your cardiovascular fitness a kick. Simply implement the five top tips from this article and you’ll start to see your cardiovascular fitness rapidly increase and enjoy all its health benefits.

Pilates Mat Work Got You Down? Do It Standing Up!

If you have difficulty doing Pilates mat exercises, you can try some common mat exercises while standing up. The Hundred is one of the fundamental Pilates exercises. It is normally performed lying on an exercise mat. The standing Hundred focuses on your core, shoulders and the back of your arms. To perform the standing Hundred exercise, stand with your feet about hip-width apart. Make sure your feet are flat on the floor. Hold your arms at your sides with your palms facing toward your back. Keep your arms rigid and straight. Pump your arms up and down 10 times. Inhale on the first five pumps and exhale of the last 5 arm pumps. Lift your right leg a few inches off the floor and point your toes and repeat 10 arm pumps. Lower your left leg, lift your right leg and repeat for another 10 arm pumps.

The side lift plie works your core, quadriceps and glutes. Stand up straight with your feet about hip-width apart. Hold your arms straight out from your shoulders. Turn your feet out about 45 degrees so that your toes are pointed out to the side. Bend your knees 90 degrees to lower your body but keep your back straight. Extend your left leg as you simultaneously straighten your right leg. Sweep your left leg out to the side of your body, hold for 2 seconds and then return to the plie position. Repeat with the other side. Do 8 repetitions on each side.

To do leg lifts, stand near a wall or hold onto the back of a chair if you needs balance support. Stand up straight and drop your shoulders a couple of inches to straighten your back. Place your feet flat on the floor about hip-width apart. Once you have your balance, squeeze your abdominal muscles and lift your right leg. Bend your knee and place your hands underneath your thigh to support your right leg. Inhale and exhale twice and then lower your right leg back to the floor. Repeat with your left leg.

Leg circles help strengthen your entire leg including your quadriceps, hamstrings and calves. Leg circles are also good for your hip stabilizer muscles. Stand up straight and place your feet about hip-width apart. Squeeze your abdominal muscles and squeeze your thighs together. Keep your arms at your sides with your palms facing your thighs. Inhale and lift your left leg straight out to your left side with your knee facing forward. Make a small circles clockwise with your leg and then counter-clockwise. Do 8 circles in each direction. Lower your left leg and repeat with your right leg.

Do not exercise without your doctor’s permission if you are pregnant, suffer from osteoporosis or have any condition that may be aggravated by exercise.

Functional Ab Exercise

 

You’ve probably heard the phrase “functional training” tossed around at the gym or used by your personal trainer. Chances are you aren’t really sure what it means. Functional training is simply doing exercises that are similar to real life movements. For example, when you climb stairs, you use your legs, thighs, hips, core, back, arms and abs. Some stair stepper machines don’t work your arms or work only your lower body. Functional training uses more natural movements that simulate real life activities. Your muscles work in planes of motion that are normal. Many injuries occur when you exercise beyond the normal planes of movement. Functional training helps eliminate this risk. Functional training also strengthens your muscles, which makes every day activities easier. Your abdominal muscles stabilize your spine and hips, as well as assist in maintaining balance and lifting. A weak core impacts your overall level of fitness and endurance. Strengthen your core to be stronger, enjoy better balance and avoid back pain.

One of the best exercises to strengthen your core muscles as well as your back muscles for a stable spine is the plank. Your abdominal muscles help to stabilize your spine. The plank exercises is function in that you aren’t crunching or twisting in an unnatural manner. Your aren’t actually moving at all. The plank exercise trains your abdominal muscles, so that you develop stability and support for your spine. Keep your spine in a neutral, or straight, position when doing planks and squeeze your abdominal muscles to help keep your spine straight. Make a straight line with your body from the top of your head to your heels and hold the position for 20 to 30 seconds. It’s okay if you can hold a plank for only a few seconds in the beginning. Add 5 seconds to your hold each time you do planks and soon you will be holding the position for 30 seconds or longer without sagging your back.