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!





Exercising can Help During and After Cancer Treatment

The following article was written by a fellow blogger,  Melanie Bowen.  Melanie is currently a Master’s student with a passion that stems from her grandmother’s cancer diagnosis. She often highlights the great benefits of alternative nutritional, emotional, and physical treatments on those diagnosed with cancer or other serious illness.  In her spare time, you can find Melanie trying new vegan recipes, on her yoga mat, or spending time with her family.

Benefits of Exercising During and After Cancer Treatment

Whether your diagnosis is mesothelioma, leukemia, lymphoma, or any of the other forms of cancer, fitness can make a difference. While exercise alone may not cure you, it can aid your body’s natural healing abilities. There are many reasons a fitness program can help you during your battle with cancer.   
Creating a Positive Mindset

One of the most important things you can do for your body is to develop a positive mindset. When faced with a scary diagnosis, this may seem difficult to do. However, there is a lot of evidence that our mental state affects our ability to heal. This is called mind-body medicine and, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center, there is a measurable correlation between mood and health.

Exercise is one of the most efficient ways to improve your mindset. During exercise, the body is flooded with oxygen and the brain releases endorphins that naturally improve health and mood. You do not need to spend hours in the gym each day. In fact, you should start out with just short sets so that you do not become overly tired or injure yourself. Speak with your doctor before beginning any type of exercise program. Other medical issues you may have can determine what level of exercise is suitable for you.

Yoga, Tai Chi and Chi Gong

Yoga, Tai Chi and Chi Gong are all known for their mind and body benefits. Practicing these increases oxygen in the blood, increases range of motion in the extremities, and contributes to a calmer mind. No matter what your current fitness level is, these exercises can be adapted to your needs. Some Yoga and Chi Gong forms may even be performed while lying down.

Aerobic Exercise

Energy levels often plummet during cancer treatment. Aerobic exercise raises energy levels by flooding the body with oxygen and strengthening the heart and lungs. Low-impact aerobic activities are easiest on the joints – these activities include bicycling, using a rowing machine and walking.

Strength Training

Many have trouble eating during some cancer treatments. This can cause rapid weight loss, which may include a loss of muscle. Strength training helps prevent some muscle loss, and strengthens both the bones and the muscles. Examples of strength training include push-ups, squats, working with resistance bands, and using weights.

Start your fitness program as soon as possible. During treatment, it will help you feel better both physically and mentally. After your cancer treatment, exercise can help you regain your strength and energy.