Why NOT To Hate Cardio

Believe it or not, your heart is a muscle that you have the power to strengthen!Believe it or not, your heart is a muscle that you have the power to strengthen!

Cardiovascular Endurance is the ability of your heart to provide oxygen to muscles during physical activity for prolonged periods of time.  Sounds kinda important, right?

And it is!  Cardiovascular endurance is the most important aspect of fitness. It is basically how strong your heart is, which can potentially add years to your life.  Not to mention, having a strong heart makes many things much easier.  The heart is the most important muscle in the human body, and it has lots of vital jobs.  If it is kept healthy, then you can avoid numerous health problems throughout your years. Another reason that cardiovascular endurance is important is because your heart just so happens to controls the oxygen flow to all your muscles.  Meaning, cardiovascular health has a direct impact on your WOD performance, both endurance and strength wise.       The reason your cardio performance has so much room for improvement is because the heart is a muscle, and like all other muscles in the body, if you keep working it it will adapt to the workload given. This allows us to have direct control over how healthy one of the most important systems in our body is.  Sounds like a pretty good deal to me!  Of course, we must also keep in mind there are other factors that effect heart health, such as cholesterol, and blood pressure. Eating right and exercising will ensure that your heart becomes, and remains, healthy throughout your life.  (Once again, here is a nod to how important Nutrition is at the base of our CrossFit Fitness Pyramid!)

Aerobic exercise and fitness can be contrasted with anaerobic exercise, such as strength training and weight training.  The two types of exercise differ by the duration and intensity of muscular contractions involved, as well as by how energy is generated within the muscle.  Aerobic exercise comprises innumerable forms. In general, it is performed at a moderate level of intensity over a relatively long period of time. For example, running  a long distance at a moderate pace is an aerobic exercise, but sprinting is not.

Among the recognized benefits of doing regular aerobic exercise are:

  • Strengthening the muscles involved in respiration, to facilitate the flow of air in and out of the lungs
  • Strengthening and enlarging the heart muscle, to improve its pumping efficiency and reduce the resting heart rate, known as aerobic conditioning
  • Strengthening muscles throughout the body
  • Improving circulation efficiency and reducing blood pressure
  • Increasing the total number of red blood cells in the body, facilitating transport of oxygen
  • Improved mental health, including reducing stress and lowering the incidence of depression

As a result, aerobic exercise can reduce the risk of death due to cardiovascular problems. In addition, high-impact aerobic activities (Such as jogging or jumping rope.  Shout out for Double Unders!) can stimulate bone growth, as well as reducing the risk of osteoporosis for both men and women.

In addition to the health benefits of aerobic exercise, there are numerous performance benefits:

  • Increased storage of energy molecules such as fats and carbohydrates within the muscles, allowing for increased endurance
  • Increasing speed at which aerobic metabolism is activated within muscles, allowing a greater portion of energy for intense exercise to be generated aerobically
  • Improving the ability of muscles to use fats during exercise, preserving intramuscular glycogen
  • Enhancing the speed at which muscles recover from high intensity exercise

Many people are surprised at how easy it is to improve their cardiovascular endurance.  So how about you play around with this idea and see how much YOU can improve?

Don’t forget to vote for Sean and Colleen’s photo so they can win a 16×20 matted print of a wedding photo of their choice.  Here is the link!

Today’s Workout:

Buy In2 Minutes of Max Wall Balls.  Compare to Jan. 27th

WOD – “5 RM Clean & Jerk”

5-5-5-5-5 reps of  Clean and Jerk

* Full Squat clean.  Make sure to stand up before beginning the jerk. Remember to challenge yourself!  This should be just as challenging as a high intensity metcon.

Zone 2 – focus on technique with 3 x 10 reps.

Zone 1 – learn technique with a Medicine ball, do 3 x 10 reps

Cash Out – Follow the leader yoga!

Running WOD

7 x 400 at 5-K pace

Please post in the comments when and where you are doing your run if you would like people to join you!

100 Day Burpee Challenge:

Burpees today: 85

Buy-in: 3655


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