The long list of benefits for those who regularly engage in aerobic, or cardio exercise, sounds too good to be true! It reads like a ‘magic pill’ nutritional supplement pitch that promises to make us abundantly healthy, improving everything from skin and sexual health to weight loss, mood boosts and longer lifespans! However, one key difference exists between the largely unregulated, profit-driven nutritional supplement industry and the same claims made by those promoting aerobic exercise: unbiased research.
The research that supports the recommendations behind aerobic exercises is extensive. The positive impacts of cardio exercise, even when done without complimentary exercise like strength training or flexibility, are well researched and documented. Cardio exercise can strengthen your heart, lower blood pressure and help manage blood sugars. It can boost your immune system, your mood and your ability to live longer and more independently. It can help you maintain a healthy weight and sleep better at night among other things.
Need a refresher or to hear it straight from trusted physicians? In the following two articles, the staff at Mayo Clinic outlines how a body responds to cardio and its many documented benefits. Both articles give the great advice that I would also give to anyone who is just starting with cardio exercise for the first time or the first time in a long time: start small.
Mayo Clinic Article – Cardio 101: Benefits and Tips
Mayo Clinic Article – Aerobic exercises: Top 10 reasons to get physical
The recommendations for adults and children on how much and what kind of cardio activity is appropriate is also well researched. This can boost confidence and buy-in, knowing that the minutes you log each week doing cardio will add up to big benefits in the long and even short term. The American Heart Association and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend 150 minutes of moderate intensity exercise or 75 minutes of high intensity exercise per week for adults.
Cardiovascular exercise is a powerful tool for good health that most of us have right at our fingertips. However, cardio is often done, or avoided, out of balance with other activities. Commonly, it’s the only mode of exercise a person is doing and often at the same pace or machine settings for years, reducing the return on time and energy invested. In other instances, cardio is skipped altogether and/or replaced with other exercises like strength training or yoga that aren’t ‘so boring’.
We recognize that these and other barriers exist for our clients but they don’t negate the importance of cardio is a part of their physical wellness plan. Our job is to listen to the frustrations or questions clients have regarding cardio exercise and watch for clues that might lead us in a direction they’ll enjoy.
We help clients accomplish their cardio goals in a variety of ways. In order to save valuable training time for exercise that requires more focused instruction, we often provide guidance and the client completes this cardio exercise time on their own.
- Hold clients accountable to complete cardio, setting realistic weekly objectives and checking in on completion.
- Provide guidance on what to do and how often, planned in coordination with other exercise.
- Introduce clients to interval training that’s appropriate for their fitness level. (Read more about why interval training can be a great workout at any age.)
- Write and share interval training programs to be done on their own machines in a follow-along approach.
- Encourage modes of cardio or equipment they prefer or have seasonal access to like cross country skiing or hiking.
- Emphasize the importance of a well-rounded approach toward fitness that includes key pieces like strength training, flexibility/stretching and cardio. These movement modes work together to improve health, reduce discomfort and prevent injuries.
We strive to provide opportunities that promote action in any area of a clients fitness where they need help. We also give clients space to accomplish as much on their own as they prefer and celebrate these accomplishments with them by simply checking in.
Want help making a comprehensive exercise plan or utilizing your home cardio equipment to your fullest potential? Schedule your free 90 minute consultation or call 651-895-0774.
Addie Kelzer is a certified personal trainer and nutrition consultant. She believes that by making fitness and good food practical, her clients will hold the power to positively change their health and the health of those closest to them.