Cardio Basic’s

Cardio gets a lot of heat, mainly as it tends to be the go-to training for weight loss and because it’s open to all, you can get a very large anecdotal dataset!

I prefer to think of it as a tool, same as conditioning work, resistance training etc

Walking – underrated, Cross trainer – underrated, cycling – underrated

Why? – because you can improve your base levels of aerobic fitness, these are largely transferable to other activities that we undertake.

Improve our base and stairs become easier, walking to town and back becomes easier.

Building a solid foundation for cardio is just like a house or skyscraper, the foundations can dictate the height you can build to. When starting out, we need to allow our bodies to adapt to the change let’s pick out a few of the points for a runner:

Breathing – we need to be able to get the oxygen in.
Legs – our muscles need time to adapt to the changes.
Joints – knees and ankles will be under a greater than normal stress level.
Feet – friction, impact all needs to be built up to stop things like blisters, bruising etc

A good base can allow all of these things to be mitigated, I say mitigated as they may still occur, however, at a much lower level and more importantly in a more controlled fashion. When starting out, running at a slower pace for 2km will give much greater control over our body than running 5km at the top end of our heart rate.

Maybe a target is to be able to run comfortably 3 times a week rather than destroying ourselves in the first one and lamenting the thought of the next 2……

So, for cardio basics, I say start out at a pace you could hold forever in smaller chunks e.g. cycling – going to cycle at a leisurely speed for 20 minutes, we may feel like we had more in the tank when we get back, this is good, you’ll be wanting to do the next one and your bum will thank you for not pushing it so far!

The key is to increase slowly, allow all of the other parts of the chain to catch up. You’ll find that progress will ramp up, pace will improve – even when sticking to the ‘forever pace’ as our body adapts.

Quick last point, before you fall asleep reading this – spare a thought for other activities that improve our aerobic base:

Battle ropes – longer and slower sets to build up strength and endurance.
Ball slams – lighter ball for more reps, you can even include this with other bits on this list
Skipping – starting in smaller sets, can be built up and incorporated into many workouts
Boxing – class based (boxercise) or a bag/training tree if you prefer something that doesn’t fight back!
Resistance training – much lighter weight for a larger number of reps or carrying objects, think balls, sandbags, kettlebells

Not exhaustive, just enough to give you an idea that we can incorporate many training types into cardio, as always much depends on how we look to program the activity, especially when keeping to overall goal at the centre of our planning.

If you would like some help, hints or tips with cardio programming or need a hand with refreshing your current plan, speak to one of Team SF – email or call 07597215652