Heart Month: Cardiovascular Fitness Training & Your Heart
February is heart month. This month has been designated by the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada as a way to alert millions of Canadians to the risks of heart disease and stroke.
Did you know that 90% of Canadians have at least one risk factor for heart disease and stroke? And that heart disease and stroke take one life every 7 minutes in Canada? Knowing these statistics, it’s important to take steps to improve your heart health and to reduce your risk factors.
Your heart is a muscle and it gets stronger and healthier when you lead a healthy and active lifestyle. One excellent way to improve your heart health is to take part in cardiovascular fitness training.
Cardiovascular Fitness Training and Heart Health Benefits
Cardiovascular fitness training is any type of exercise that increases the work that your heart and lungs are doing. It provides a number of benefits to your body, including:
- Reducing your risk of heart disease
- Burning calories
- Lowering blood pressure
- Reducing LDL or “bad” cholesterol
- Improving HDL or “good” cholesterol
- Helping you reach a healthy body weight
- Improving heart function
- And more!
Many people think that it’s “too late” to exercise or feel that they need to be an athlete to take part in regular cardiovascular fitness training. This isn’t true! Just about everyone can take part and everyone can benefit from cardiovascular fitness training, even if you start off very slowly. Studies show that people who don’t exercise are nearly twice as likely to get heart disease than people who exercise regularly. This can be your motivation to get started!
Cardiovascular Fitness Training Tips
When you’re first starting a cardiovascular fitness training plan, you may not be sure where to begin. This is where working with a personal trainer may help you. However, you can also start a cardiovascular fitness training plan on your own without much experience.
One of the keys is to find an exercise that you enjoy doing. Some people like running on the treadmill. Some like cycling. Others prefer swimming or hiking. Every person is a little different. One reason that many people fail at their cardiovascular fitness training plans is that they force themselves to do an activity that they hate. If you hate the exercise that you’re doing, you won’t be able to keep it up for long. Instead, consider all of the possible exercises available and find one that meets your style.
A common cardio workout, especially for those who are just starting out, is walking. Taking a brisk walk for 30 minutes a day can make a difference in your overall health and its certainly better than not exercising at all! Once you’ve gotten used to some form of exercise, it will be easier to keep going and to add other cardiovascular fitness training exercises to your routine!