When I was in my 20s, I was perfectly happy being one of the "strong guys" in the gym. Just don't ask me to run a mile.
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Nowadays, in my late 30s, I've actually learned to appreciate (and enjoy) cardio training activities like rowing, cycling, and boxing. I even designed a 16-week progressive interval training program all my clients must do at least twice per week. But just like me, many people don't give cardio training the time of day.
Lemme tell ya why ya should ....
What is cardiorespiratory training? Cardiorespiratory training is anything that increases your heart rate for a sustained period of time at an elevated speed. This includes walking, jogging, bike riding, swimming, playing sports, roller skating, etc. Cardiorespiratory training is used to burn calories and to improve our overall conditioning.
Why should I train my cardiorespiratory system?
Walking, jogging, biking— they all seems to take so much effort. Why should I make myself do these when I don't enjoy them? While cardiovascular training may seem like a chore, you will be more than willing to hop on a treadmill after reading the following benefits to cardiorespiratory training (hopefully).
Probably the sexiest side effect of cardiovascular training is losing those unwanted pounds and inches. Because your body's decision to store fat is based on the equation of energy in vs. energy out, the more energy out that you have, the less energy you will have to store on your waist, hips and thighs.
Have you ever gotten super winded walking up a flight of stairs? Not the greatest feeling, was it? When you're gasping and holding on to the rail for dear life, you know without a shadow of a doubt that you are out of shape.
When you train your cardiorespiratory system you will begin to find that you don't lose your breathe as easily under strenuous activity. Your heart becomes conditioned to pump faster on demand without sending you into a wheezing fit. Your heart is the most important muscle in your body, and if you want to enjoy the new body you are about to create, then wouldn't you want to have a healthy heart along with it? I know of two heart surgeons who would agree with me.
Heart attack, stroke, hypertension and diabetes are just a few of the diseases that you would be defending yourself against with cardiorespiratory training. By losing excess weight and conditioning your body, you arm your body against these and many other ailments.
So, what's it good for? Absolutely everything. Along with supportive nutrition, proper rest, strength training and coaching, cardio training is a major cog in the wheel of your fitness program.
Neglect it at your peril. Adopt it to your extreme benefit.
Chad Smith is a Hagerstown personal trainer and co-owner of Home Team Fitness LLC. Go to www.hometeamfitness.net for more information.