Has it been years since you have had a good cardio-vascular workout that really got your heart pumping? When you neglect to exercise your heart, even a couple of flights of stairs can leave you winded. Do not believe for a moment that you are alone. Our sedentary lifestyle has a major negative effect on our health. The importance of a strong heart and proper circulation cannot be stressed strongly enough. They are essential to keep away heart disease and high blood pressure, among other ailments.

However, a “beginner,” or someone who hasn’t broken a sweat in a while, should be cautious about jumping into cardio workout routine. A balance must be struck between making sufficient progress to keep motivated and working out too hard and possibly hurting yourself. There are real dangers, so it is important to check with your doctor before beginning any exercise routine and to continue being monitored throughout.

Start Slow, Build Gradually to Fast

To begin, choose the type of exercise you would most like to do. Walking and cycling are good choices since they are low impact and require no special skills. Swimming is another good choice as are a treadmill or elliptical machine if you would prefer to keep your workouts indoors. Start slow and steady and very gradually, over days and weeks, increase the intensity of your workouts. Three 30 minutes sessions per week is a good start. Eventually you want to put in about two and a half hours of exercise every week. As an eventual goal consider the Center for Disease Control’s guideline of 5 hours of moderate exercise per week. That much exercise provides great health benefits including weight management and even disease prevention.

If you like the idea of jogging for your cardio exercise, look into the Couch Potato to 5K system. This program begins with a walk that lasts about 30 minutes. After a week, short, 10-15 second spurts of light jogging are introduced. Over the course of several weeks you run more and walk less. The goal is to eventually run five kilometers non-stop, which for most is a 40 minute jog. The reason this is a good choice for beginners is its gradual increase in difficulty and the fact that if you want to take it slower, you can just repeat a week before going to the next level. Several smartphone apps are available to help.

Or Start Even Slower

For some even a 30 minute walk might seem daunting. That is OK. Maybe you feel you need to work up to that. Try taking 10 minute walks three times a day. They will provide the same benefits as one 30 minute walk. The important thing is to get active. A handful of light jumping jacks or shallow squats might be a good start. Some exercise is better than none and before long you will feel better and able to tackle something more demanding.

At Abella Health we promote exercise for good cardio-vascular health. Remember to check with your physician before you begin any exercise program, especially if you have not exercised in a while. Contact us to learn about all of the ways you can improve your cardio-vascular health.