Another healthy habit we need to incorporate into our week is cardio — otherwise known as endurance or aerobic exercise.
As women in peri, menopause or post (rest of our lives!) — we need to know what is the right kind and amount of cardio that is most healthy for ourselves (working with a health coach who specializes in this is key).
Why is this right kind and amount of cardio crucial to your health?
Short term — it speeds up your heart rate and breathing, helps relax blood vessel walls, lowers your blood pressure, burns body fat, reduces blood sugar levels and inflammation, boosts mood, and raises good cholesterol (HDL).
Long-term benefits include reduced risk of heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, breast and colon cancer, depression, anxiety, and falls.
WOW. Sign me up!
But, we all have limited time. So, how much cardio do we really need?
You want to aim for 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity activity. To judge your activity level, keep in mind that during a moderate-intensity activity you should be able to talk, but not sing. If you’re new to endurance activity, start out with 10-15 minute sessions and gradually work your way up to 30 minutes five times a week. During this endurance you want a small amount of HIT — where you are almost to completely breathless. When we were younger, we may have worked out with more HIT — but as we age and enter into menopause our cortisol levels dramatically increase. Too much high intensity can exasperate our already too high cortisol levels — leaving us with sleep issues, weight gain, brain fog…
Endurance activities recommended by the American Heart Association include:
⛹️♀️Playing sports such as tennis, basketball, soccer or racquetball.
The key is to find an activity you enjoy! Try walking in a park or joining a sports league with friends to make endurance activity less daunting.
“Success isn’t always about greatness. It’s about consistency. Consistent hard work gains success. Greatness will come,” Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson.
As you know, maintaining cardiovascular fitness is one of the most important things you can do to maintain your health and longevity. The best-known benefit of cardio workouts is keeping the heart-healthy. Weight loss and cardio also go hand-in-hand.
To get the most out of your cardiovascular workout, you’ll want to determine your target heart rate. The basic way to calculate your maximum heart rate is to subtract your age from 220. For example, if you’re 45 years old, subtract 45 from 220 to get a maximum heart rate of 175. This is the maximum number of times your heart should beat per minute during exercise.
The American Heart Association and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend a general target heart rate of:
❤️ Moderate exercise intensity: 50 to about 70 percent of your maximum heart rate
❤️ Vigorous exercise intensity: 70 to about 85 percent of your maximum heart rate
❤️ You can talk with me to determine your specific target heart rate. Try using a heart rate monitor or fitness tracker to record your heart rate during your workout.
❤️ Remember, most of you workout is a steady state with some bursts of intensity.
“Don’t limit your challenges, challenge your limit”, Jerry Dunn.
How do we get the bursts of intensity? Have you heard of HIIT workouts? They are high-intensity interval workouts that follow specific principles to get your heart rate up for short bouts of intensity.
Interval training can be used with any form of exercise simply by timing your activity. You want to push yourself to your max for 30 seconds followed by going at a slower pace for 30 seconds. Make sure to alternate intensity for 15-30 minutes. This style of training is great for running, cycling, rowing, swimming, rollerblading, and so on.
✅ Burns more calories during AND after exercise
✅ Provides a challenge for your heart
✅ Improves both your aerobic and anaerobic capacity
If you’re interested in trying interval training, check out these apps to help you get started:
💪HIIT Interval Training Timer,
💪Seconds Pro – Interval Timer
💪And/OR you can get a great interval timer which will be a game changer for your workouts.
Reply here for more information on are great interval timer (not app) that will structure and motivate your workouts.
“Believe in yourself and all that you are. Know that there is something inside of you that is greater than any obstacle”, Christian D. Larson.
There’s lots of more forms of heart rate training you can do (like Tabata) to strengthen your cardiovascular system and YOU!
And, best result is you replace stress with strength!
Let’s get running, cycling, swimming or…! Comment below if you want the right and FUN cardio workouts to incorporate in your day.