Fitness for the Heart - American Medical Centers (Lviv)

Fitness for the Heart

The popularity of cardio-fitness continues to grow. Indeed, studies show that cardio-fitness not only helps our physical shape, but also offers an opportunity to strengthen the heart muscle while reducing the risk of cardio-vascular problems and blood cholesterol levels.

The Essence of Training

In fact, cardio is endurance training, which strengthens the heart and cardiovascular system. The Heart is a muscle so it can be trained, but the exercise needs to be measured. Often our heart responds to our activities and moods and we can create the conditions where the body itself «causes» our hearts to work in different modes – faster and slower, stronger and quieter. From these exercises in the heart muscle we activate metabolic processes, increasing blood flow, and hence, strengthening the heart muscle.

Start: Step by Step

Preventing a cardio training injury is of first and foremost importance. In the case of excessive cardio the consequences can be very damaging, especially if one already has complications with the heart. Therefore, before cardio exercise it is always advisable to consult a doctor and, if possible, to conduct classes under the supervision of an instructor. It may also be necessary to initially use a heart monitor – the device that allows us to observe the frequency of the heart muscle. The first cardio exercises should be done in a quiet mode that does not overly burden the heart. Over time, the load can be increased, but this should be done slowly and carefully.

Types of Cardio

Cardio exercises include jogging, walking, cycling, swimming, yoga, breathing exercises and more. Electronic or mechanical devices such as the Treadmill, Step Machine, Exercise Bike, and Elliptical trainer among others also help increase endurance of the heart. In addition, modern cardio equipment with heart monitors allows you to automatically generate loads of time and intensity, depending on parameters such as weight, height, age and heart rate during the course.

Cardio Programs

The first exercise is carried out with sets of low intensity. The intensity is measured as a percentage of maximum heart rate (HR), which is calculated by the formula «220-age». A normal resting heart rate is 60-80 beats per minute. A small load is 60% of maximum heart rate. For a person 50 years of age, the maximum heart rate for small load training is 102 heartbeats per minute (220-50 * 60%). This mode of training should be carried out three times a week for two months.

From the third month you can start interval cardio. This program introduces short (less than 1 minute to 5 minutes of quiet activity) increases in the intensity of the workout – up to 75% of heart rate. In the active phase of training, the heart rate should not exceed 127- 128 beats per minute for a person 50 years of age (220-50 * 75%).

Cardio workout duration should not exceed 40 minutes. Start with a warm-up (5-7 minutes) and finish stretching exercises of the muscles. The majority of the workout will be 20-30 minutes, increasing or decreasing the heart rate up to the rate which was calculated in advance.

Contraindications for physical education classes are:

• An acute phase of rheumatic fever, endo-and myocarditis;

• Severe arrhythmias and cardiac conduction system;

• Acute heart failure (heart rate 104-108 beats per/min.,severe shortness of breath);

• Oedema of the lungs;

• Circulatory failure.

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