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Summer Cardio: Perfect For Outdoor Weather

George Robichaud is in better shape in the back half of his life than most of us were at our peak. George Robichaud is in better shape in the back half of his life than most of us were at our peak.

 

Summer is upon us, and the desire to do outdoorsy activities is strong. But if we are in poor cardiovascular condition, it dulls our desire to maintain an active lifestyle and keeps us from feeling vital and energetic.

Cardiovascular conditioning is key to well-rounded fitness. Resistance training is not aerobic and doesn’t burn many calories or significantly elevate one’s metabolic rate. We must get the heart rate up for an extended period of time on a regular basis to stoke the metabolic fires and prime the body for burning fuel even when at rest.
Swimming is far superior to any other form of cardiovascular fitness in that it works the entire body, contributing to all-round muscle tone and heart health.

As we age, our metabolic rate slows and our bodies tend to conserve more energy by storing fat. Feeling lethargic all the time and being breathless when doing relatively small tasks is a telltale sign that one is in poor cardiovascular health and on the path to greater ailments down the road, such as cardiovascular disease. The only way to combat this is to stimulate the metabolism so it works more efficiently and keeps us trim and functioning.

Cardiovascular conditioning can be very rewarding. It gives us energy and pep and contributes to a trim and aesthetic physique.

Let’s look at my top three forms of cardiovascular fitness in order of their effectiveness at burning fat and contributing to cardiovascular health:

JOGGING

A slow, steady jog sustained for 30 to 45 minutes on a flat plane is a wonderful way to gain cardiovascular health. Always run on cushioned surfaces like gravel or trails and avoid asphalt and concrete for the sake of your joints. Running on a treadmill works when the weather is bad, but it can be boring compared to being out in the fresh air with changing scenery. Always wear reflective gear if you run at night.

SWIMMING

Swimming is far superior to any other form of cardiovascular fitness in that it works the entire body, contributing to all-round muscle tone and heart health. Doing laps is an excellent way of burning calories. Practice different strokes each lap in order to develop complete muscle tone. Start with a few laps — 10 is a good initial goal — and build up over time as you get in better condition. You’ll be doing 30 Olympic-size pool lengths in no time.

CYCLING

Cycling is low-impact cardio and also greatly contributes to the muscle tone of the thighs, hamstrings and calves. It’s not as aggressive as jogging in terms of burning calories if you stay on flat surfaces, but if you incorporate hills, the workout can be comparable to jogging in terms of energy output, toning and calorie burning.

Be sure to incorporate cardiovascular conditioning in your training regimen three time per week. Alternating days of cardiovascular training and resistance training is a great way to go and breaks up your fitness routine, adding spice to it. Some people like to do cardiovascular training and resistance training in the same session, but that is an advanced program that requires great energy output. Sometimes walking, jogging or cycling to and from the gym is a good strategy for fitting it all in and making exercise interesting. Good luck!

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Aquaman swims like a maniac and just look what kind of shape he's in.
Last modified on Friday, 28 September 2012 12:08

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