Cardio - Respiratory Workouts
The heart has to pump blood and oxygen to each and every cell in our body. This is critical to each cell's survival. The more tissue we have, the more work we create for our heart. The only tissue that does no active work in the regular course of life is body fat. All other body tissue has its task cut out. So the amount of extra work the heart must do is directly proportional to the amount of extra body fat we have. Body fat, to its argument does have its functions. It works as a reserve store or energy. In colder environments it provides insulation from cold. A minimal amount of fat is also required by the body to be able to digest fat soluble vitamins such as vitamins A, D, E and K. The heart pumps blood through the blood vessels. Any obstruction to its flow makes the heart pump that much harder. It also increases the blood pressure within the body. To make the heart's job easier, it is a must to have a good level of cardio-respiratory fitness. What promotes cardio-respiratory fitness? It is all kinds of aerobic exercise - those activities that involve a large amount of consumption of oxygen by the body with a relatively lesser amount of muscle fatigue. Exercise like long distance running, jogging, cycling, rowing, dancing, skipping or swimming; promote cardio-respiratory fitness. Apart from these, activities like basketball, soccer, hockey, squash, boxing, most forms of martial arts too develop very high levels of cardio-respiratory fitness.
What should be the pace of the activity to consider it an aerobic activity? The guiding factor in this is something called Maximum Heart Rate (MHR) or the maximum number of times your heart beats per minute. It can be measured by measuring your pulse rate. You calculate your MHR in the following manner:
MHR = 220 minues your Age (in years).
For an activity to be a meaningful aerobic one, your pulse rate should be maintained at 70 to 90 per cent of your MHR. So if you are 35 years old your MHR will be 185. So you can consider any physical activity as a meaningful aerobic activity if your pulse rate during the activity is maintained between 130 to 166 beats per minute. However, for swimming, the target rate will be lower by about 10 to 15 beats per minute. However, the target heart rate is just a guideline. If you are looking towards fitness in the long term, it is desirable to include aerobic activities in one's regimen. A higher level of cardio-fitness is associated with lower stress levels, better stamina, glowing skin, confidence and a general feeling of well-being. Cardio-respiratory activities are typically associated with burning a larger amount of calories. So if you are looking forward to knocking those pounds off - cardio respiratory exercises are invaluable for you. The best and most simplest of all cardio respiratory exercises is jogging. Although others such as sports are good, but they all require some sort of infrastructure. In case of games, unless you are a member of a sports club or a similar setup, you are usually dependent on a number of things you have little control over. A sports field, playing courts, like-minded games partners, coordinating the timing with the team or that of your partner, the list goes on.. For a jog all one needs is a pair of good shoes, a makeshift track or any open place with clean air. It gives you control over the time, the distance, the pace and most importantly your thoughts. Jogging is however not the only activity towards cardio respiratory fitness. The same principle is applicable to cycling, skipping, dancing, aerobics or swimming. The lesser the dependencies (facilities or other people) for the activity, better are the chances of being regular with a regimen.