There are many ways to measure physical fitness. This is no longer a simple question of weight or how we feel. Fitness is now measured in terms of how all the systems that drive the body really function. Cardiovascular endurance is one such measure of physical fitness.
When we come to evaluate how well our bodies are working, we need to take into consideration many factors. These factors are made up of the ways our organ systems are working. Cardiovascular endurance is a measure of how well the heart and lungs are working together to keep blood oxygenated.
Cardiovascular endurance can also be a fitness goal. While cardiovascular endurance is a measure of our fitness, it can become something we strive to improve. Exercise and diet are, of course, the ideal ways to improve cardiovascular endurance.
What is cardiovascular endurance? How can you improve cardiovascular endurance? And what are some things you can do to improve cardiovascular endurance? This guide will introduce you to the concept of cardiovascular endurance.
What is Cardiovascular Endurance?
Cardiovascular endurance is a measure of how well your heart and lungs can provide oxygen to your body during exercise or other types of exertion. Sometimes called aerobic fitness, cardiovascular endurance can provide a good picture of how well your body holds up during medium or high-intensity exercises.
Medium and high-intensity exercises require a long-term and sustained supply of oxygen. Cardiovascular endurance is what makes it possible to do these kinds of activities. Increasing cardiovascular endurance also increases your ability to engage in high-intensity exercise.
What is Cardiovascular Fitness?
Cardiovascular fitness (CRF) is the specific measure of your cardiovascular health. These are the measurements that determine how well your heart and lungs function when you need to exert yourself for sustained periods of time. CRF measures how well your body takes in oxygen and delivers it to your muscle and organs during sustained periods of exercise or exertion.
The higher your CRF, the lower your risk of developing some serious health conditions. Low levels of CRF are associated with an increased risk of heart disease, certain types of cancer, and higher mortality rates.
Cardiovascular fitness is linked to the likelihood of heart failure and hospitalizations due to heart problems. Cardiovascular fitness is also a strong predictor of your risk of stroke. Strong cardiovascular fitness is also one of the best ways of improving outcomes from other types of surgeries.
Benefits of Cardiovascular Endurance
It is probably obvious that cardiovascular endurance is good for your health. Improving your cardiovascular endurance is a powerful way of taking care of your overall cardiovascular health. Some of the benefits of cardiovascular endurance include:
Improved cholesterol and blood pressure levels.
- Increased levels of bad cholesterol, high-density lipoprotein, or HDL are linked to an increased risk of atherosclerosis (narrowing of the arteries), heart attack, stroke, and peripheral artery disease. Building your cardiovascular endurance lowers HDL levels and reduces these risks. Since lowering your HDL levels also lowers your risk of stroke, cardiovascular endurance also has the benefit of reducing the risk of stroke.
- Reducing your risk of many diseases, such as heart and blood vessel conditions.
Peripheral artery disease (PAD) occurs in the legs and lower extremities. It is the condition in which narrowing or blockage in the vessels inhibits the passage of blood from the heart to the legs. PAD significantly increases your risk of heart disease and stroke. One of the best ways to prevent or treat PAD is by optimizing your cardiovascular endurance.
- Helping you live longer.
Cardiovascular endurance not only increases longevity, but Since cardiovascular endurance improves cardiovascular health in general, it makes it much more likely that you will be able to remain active even into old age. People who sustain and regularly work on cardiovascular endurance tend to live longer and remain active longer.
- Strengthening your heart and lungs.
Cardiovascular endurance is perhaps the most effective way of strengthening your heart and lungs. Cardiovascular endurance is precisely the mode of physical fitness that both depends on and increases the health of the heart and lungs. To achieve cardiovascular fitness, you must work on cardiovascular endurance.
Since heart and lung function are at the very center of cardiovascular endurance, you may want to consider a supplement that can help you improve heart and lung function. WODPAK from NF Sports provides you with high levels of essential vitamins, along with a complete multi-mineral and vitamin K2, high ORAC antioxidant RichBerry, and high potency fish oil. This combination of vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients can help ensure that your heart and lungs are getting everything they need for optimal functioning.
- Make it easier to perform everyday tasks.
The fact of the matter is that everything you do in a day—mowing the lawn, doing laundry, climbing stairs—depends on some level of cardiovascular endurance. The chief reason people lose their ability to perform common everyday tasks is that they do not pay enough attention to cardiovascular endurance and cardiovascular fitness.
- Improving brain function.
Cardiovascular endurance increases your ability to transport oxygen to your muscles and organs. This means that cardiovascular endurance necessarily increases blood flow to your brain. By working on cardiovascular endurance, you improve blood flow throughout the body, and this includes the brain. Better blood flow to the brain simultaneously increases the flow of oxygen and reduces the presence of toxins. This promotes brain health and can even promote neurogenesis, or the development of brain cells.
- Increasing feelings of emotional well-being.
Medical studies have found direct links between poor cardiovascular fitness and increased risk of depression, anxiety, and other mental health problems. By increasing your levels of cardiovascular endurance activities, you directly improve your emotional well-being. Cardiovascular endurance physically reduces your risk of developing anxiety and depression.
- Improving your quality of life.
The bottom line is that cardiovascular endurance improves your quality of life. By reducing your risk of heart disease, heart attack, and stroke, and by increasing things like brain health and emotional well-being, you are much more likely to enjoy an improved quality of life.
How to Improve Cardiovascular Endurance
The most effective way to improve cardiovascular endurance is with regular exercise. Remember that not all exercises are right for everyone. If you are concerned about your cardiovascular fitness, talk to your doctor about cardiovascular endurance exercise before you begin.
The best thing to do is to start out with simple cardiovascular activities. Simple things like walking and biking are great ways to begin improving your cardiovascular endurance. Even as little as 15 minutes of exercise per day will begin to improve your cardiovascular endurance.
How to Build Cardiovascular Endurance
There are some specific exercises that will help you build cardiovascular endurance. These may include:
- Riding a bike.
- Jumping rope.
- Climbing stairs.
To build on the cardiovascular endurance you get from these common exercises, you could also try:
Sprint interval training. (SIT)
These are measures of bursts of high-intensity sprint training followed by brief periods of rest. People who push the hardest, 10-30 seconds at a time, appear to have seen the highest benefits.
High-intensity interval training (HIIT)
High-intensity interval training is a training protocol alternating short periods of intense or explosive anaerobic exercise with brief recovery periods until the point of exhaustion. Be advised that this is a high-intensity exercise and is not for everyone. People who regularly engage in HIIT are generally in top physical condition to begin.
Cardiovascular Endurance Examples
Examples of cardiovascular endurance would necessarily include measures of cardiovascular endurance. One way cardiovascular endurance is measured is with metabolic equivalents (METs). METs measure the intensity of your workout and the uptake of oxygen. They also measure how much energy is expended when you are at rest.
Another example of cardiovascular endurance measurement is maximum oxygen uptake (VO2 max). VO2 max measures how much oxygen is used during your most intense exertions. This demonstrates how your cardiorespiratory system is functioning.
VO2 tests are usually performed by a clinician or an exercise physiologist. You can get approximate measurements from a fitness instructor. These are done by measuring your cardiovascular fitness using one of these methods:
- the Astrand treadmill test
- the 2.4 km run test
- the multistage bleep test
If you tend toward a sedentary lifestyle, you can do what is called the Cooper 1.5-mile walk-run test. This can be done on a treadmill, and it will give you a good indication of how well your cardiovascular endurance is working. This is a great way to begin if you were just getting started with cardiovascular endurance.
All of these tests and examples of cardiovascular endurance are ideal indicators of how well your heart and lungs function during exercise. These things are not just useful for measuring cardiovascular endurance, they are also good indicators of your risk of developing heart disease and other chronic diseases.
Tips for Beginners
If you are just getting started on building your cardiovascular endurance, here are some tips to begin:
Choose something you enjoy doing.
It is easy to feel like you should begin with the exercise you think you should be doing. But the best way to start building cardiovascular endurance is to do something you like. Walking is one of the best ways to start exercising your cardiovascular system. Walking requires no special equipment, and you can take your walks any place you like.
If you feel up to getting started on things that are more demanding, cycling, swimming, running, aerobics, rowing, climbing, and even dance are some of the best cardiovascular workouts. These kinds of activities elevate your heart rate, and they demand sustained oxygen flow to your muscles and organ systems.
Start small and work your way up
Everything gets easier the more you practice.
Set up a simple schedule
If you are just beginning, set aside time three days a week for things like walks or short cycling trips. Make sure you rest in between. This will help your body adjust to the exertion, and you will be able to increase your activity.
Always do a warmup and cool down to avoid injuries
Five to ten minutes of warm-up stretches are sufficient at first. A short cool-down to stretch out your muscles will help them relax and remain flexible.
Remember that the only rule here is to begin where you are, not where you think you should be. Do not overexert yourself. Besides running the risk of injury, over-exertion is a good way to become discouraged.
Do not concern yourself with your pace or your distance at first
These are things to think about as you build your cardiovascular endurance. When you are beginning the process, just try to enjoy yourself.
Wrapping things up
Physical fitness is no longer an abstract idea that we gauge by our own measure. We can now use a variety of specific medically proven benchmarks to measure our physical fitness. Things like body mass index, for example, is one of these measures, and it is critically important to staying healthy. Cardiovascular endurance is another key measurement of physical fitness.
Cardiovascular endurance is a way of understanding how well our bodies perform during sustained exercise or exertion. What is more, we can continually improve our cardiovascular endurance with simple exercise.
Cardiovascular endurance helps improve your overall quality of life. It helps prevent heart disease, heart attack, and a variety of other chronic diseases. Cardiovascular endurance can even improve your mental well-being. Cardiovascular endurance is a key measure of quality of life and can help you live longer. One of the great advantages of cardiovascular endurance is that it can be accurately measured so that you know just exactly how you are doing toward overall physical fitness.To help fortify your body with the vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients you need to maintain and improve cardiovascular endurance. You can take a multivitamin supplement such as WODPAK from NF Sports. WODPAK contains the finest quality vitamins and minerals. It also contains things like fish oil that help maintain heart health which is a crucial factor for cardiovascular endurance.