What is fitness? Is it functionality or aesthetics? Is it strength or speed? Is it low cholesterol or low resting heart rate? Well, it is obviously all of those and much more.

Wading through the endless books, magazines and journals can be exhausting and many times ideas, theories and disciplines are contradictory. Why? Because fitness is not an absolute science. Fitness takes science and develops it to best suit an individual or team.

So what’s a novice, or for that matter, an experienced athlete to do? Fitness is comprised of, but not limited to, cardiovascular strength, endurance, muscular strength and power, core training, flexibility and range of motion, balance and proprioception, speed and reaction time and body composition. So how do we use cardiovascular activity to our best benefit? Listen to your body, use common sense and incorporate the fundamentals below.

Cardiovascular Basics:

  • Exercise in your target heart rate realizing that medication, heart condition, athleticism, stress and other conditions may alter your range. Your range can be easily established by a fitness professional.
  • Use variety. Utilize at least three different pieces or classes per week to develop your cardiovascular ability.
  • Exercise between 3 and 6 times per week.
  • Vary your intensity, duration and frequently often.
  • Adapt your workout to your goals and change as plateaus occur.
  • Use intervals.
  • Wear appropriate footwear
  • Regularly attend group classes that focus on full body cardiovascular movement, such as Cardio kick boxing, Cardio Core, Indoor cycling, etc.

These fundamentals will get you off to a great start. As your body adapts to one form of cardio, switch it to another. Keep the body and the mind off guard. This process will keep you progressing, keep you safe, and most important, keep you in the gym.