Cardiovascular/Aerobic Exercise

No matter what your age, weight or athletic ability-- cardiovascular exercise has many benefits for you. As your body adapts to regular aerobic exercise, you'll get stronger and more efficient. Check out some of the many benefits of aerobic exercise below.

Regular aerobic exercise can:

  • Reduce health risks. Aerobic exercise reduces the risk of many conditions, including obesity, heart disease, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, stroke and certain types of cancer. Weight-bearing aerobic exercises, such as walking, reduce the risk of osteoporosis.
  • Help you manage chronic conditions. Aerobic exercise helps lower high blood pressure, control blood sugar and relieve chronic muscle pain. If you've had a heart attack, aerobic exercise can help prevent subsequent attacks.
  • Lose weight. Combined with a healthy diet, aerobic exercise can help you lose weight and keep it off.
  • Ward off viral illnesses. Aerobic exercise activates your immune system. This leaves you less susceptible to minor viral illnesses, such as colds and flu.
  • Keep your arteries clear. Aerobic exercise increases the concentration of high-density lipoprotein (HDL, or "good") cholesterol and decreases the concentration of low-density lipoprotein (LDL, or "bad") cholesterol in your blood. The potential result? Less buildup of plaques in your arteries.
  • Strengthen your heart. A stronger heart doesn't need to beat as fast. A stronger heart also pumps blood more efficiently, which improves blood flow to all parts of your body.
  • Boost your mood. Aerobic exercise can ease the gloominess of depression and reduce the tension associated with anxiety, as well as promote relaxation.
  • Increase your stamina. Aerobic exercise may make you tired in the short term. But over the long term, you'll enjoy increased stamina and reduced fatigue.
  • Stay active and independent as you get older. Aerobic exercise keeps your muscles strong, which can help you maintain mobility as you get older. Aerobic exercise also keeps your mind sharp. Researchers say that at least 30 minutes of aerobic exercise three days a week can reduce cognitive decline in older adults.

In the BP Wellness Center we have many options for aerobic exercise:

We also keep Polar heart rate monitor straps and watched available at the front desk. Almost all of our cardio equipment interfaces with the straps so you can monitor your exercise intensity and be sure you are getting a great workout every time.

Getting started

If you are new to exercise or it has been a while since you have worked out, ease back into activity gradually. Experiment with machines or activities and find something you like (and think you will be able to stick with long term). Experimenting is good. It is best to build up your duration and frequency first. So do not worry about how hard you're working. Try to gradually build your time spent moving around on the equipment or during an activity. You may start with 20 minutes at a time, 3 days per week in  your first week, 25 minutes for 3 days the next week, 30 minutes for 4 days the week after that, etc. etc. Once you can cruise for 45 minutes at a session, non-stop, then start to increase your intensity. At this point you should have a pretty good cardiovascular base started. Ask a BP Wellness Center staff member if you need help moving onto the next level of training or check out Cardio Program Design for how to put together a more structured program.

Basic Cardio Training Sheet

Endurance Cardio Training Sheet

Advanced Training Sheet

Speed Cardio Training Sheet


Related Resources:

Burn Fat Faster

From Walking to Running in 10 Weeks

Tabata Intervals

Tread and shed 30 minute interval workout

Tread and shed 45 minute interval workout