Cardio Vascular Endurance

Physical Fitness is not just being able to run 3 miles, or lift a lot of weighs, or being able to touch your toes, or even being your ideal weight.  Each of these are just one of the aspects of fitness, and to be physically fit, we must we fit in each area.

Actually, there are 5 Components of Fitness and they are:

I have written about the first 4 (you can read my posts by clicking on the links above), and now that I have just returned from a great 4 mile run,  I want to complete my series and provide some information about Cardiovascular Endurance.


Cardiovascular Endurance is defined as is the ability of the heart and lungs to supply oxygen-rich blood to the working muscle tissues and  the ability of the muscles to use oxygen to produce energy for movement.  


The heart is a muscle and just as we can strengthen our quads and biceps, we can also strengthen our heart muscle.  Regular aerobic, or high intensity training strengthens the cardiovascular system and improves cardiovascular endurance.


The strength of our cardiovascular system is determined by several factors, and as each of these increase, the amount of blood flow and oxygen supply to your muscles also increases.  Regular exercise can improve all of these factors:

1) Heart rate (how many times your heart beats per minute)

2) Stroke volume (the amount of blood pumped per heartbeat)

3) Heart contraction (the forcefulness of each actual contraction of your heart muscle)


Cardiovascular endurance is obviously important for running a race, cycling long distances, swimming, etc. but it is also vital for living a full life!



Some Major Benefits of Cardiovascular Fitness are:

Cardiovascular Health — Simply put, strengthening our cardiovascular system helps prevent heart disease,It lowers cholesterol and triglyceride levels  high blood pressure and stroke.

Weight Control — The stronger our heart, the longer and more intense we can exercise, and exercises to increase cardiovascular endurance also burn a lot of calories!

Disease Prevention — Again, aerobic exercise helps prevent obesity which can lead to diabetes, heart disease, and stroke.  And, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, being physically active also reduces the risk of developing breast cancer and prostate cancer.

Mental Health — I’m sure you’ve noticed how good you feel after a brisk walk.  According to May clinic, “Aerobic exercise can boost your mood, ease symptoms of anxiety and depression, reduce tension and promote relaxation”  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also states that physical activities can also improve our quality of sleep, and enhance our thinking and judgment skills.


It is relatively easy to improve our  cardiovascular endurance.  The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends 150 minutes (or more) of cardiovascular (or Aerobic) exercise weekly to build endurance and encourage good health. This can be a little as 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week.  A simple definition of aerobic exercise is “any physical activity that makes you sweat, causes you to breathe harder and gets your heart beating faster than at rest.”  

This can include: walking (briskly), jogging, cycling, skating, skiing, using the stair master, row machine or other equipment at the gym, and a bunch of other great aerobic exercises.  Here is a list of exercises you can do at home.  The key is, you want to exercise at 70% of your maximum heart rate for about 20 minutes during your workout.


An easy way to determine your training zone is to subtract your age from 220.  Next calculate 70% of that  number for your target heart rate.  Next, halfway into your cardio workout,take pulse for six seconds; then add a zero to that number. This number is your heart rate per minute.  If your heart rate halfway through your workout is under that 70% mark, increase your exertion, and if it is over that 70% mark take it down a level.  If you are a serious athlete, there are other more precise ways to calculate your maximum heart rate and you can check some of them out here.


If you haven’t done much exercise, start slowly, maybe with a 15 minute walk at slightly above your normal pace a few times a week.  Then as you get comfortable, slowly increase the time and the pace.  Always remember to first warm up and then cool down after your workout!

Remember don’t start an exercise program without first consulting your physician.

And, have fun!






  1. Love your blog Grace! Love the “lack” of fluff and “stuff” and just getting down to it. Very informative and a great reminder to keep us health conscious on a daily basis.

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