In this article we set out 10 pieces of advice that can help you when developing a training plan to improve your cardiovascular health. Please take note…
- Choose an aerobic exercise for cardiovascular improvement.
Remember that aerobic exercises are long lasting (at least 30 minutes), low intensity and without stopping, and energy is mainly obtained from oxygen. Activities like this are, for example, going for a run, walking at a fast pace, skating, cross-country skiing, pedalling, dancing, rowing, etc. (Fuster, Adrià i Corbella 2010: 234-235). According to the American Heart Association, adults should have at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity aerobic activity per week. It is recommended that sessions of more than 10 minutes be spread throughout the week.
- A work plan tailor-made for you.
Develop a weekly work plan considering the chosen activity, your physical condition and your daily routine. It is important to try to find 3 to 6 time slots for your training. If the work plan does not match your weekly schedule, your chances will not be successful.
- Start gently.
It is important to start the training plan with low intensity exercises. If we have not done physical activity for a long time and we want to start with a very intense exercise, it could actually be harmful to our health. The golden rule is to always go from less to more, which is called the beginning of progression of training. So, the first piece of advice: do not start at 200%.
- Exercise always has 3 phases.
Whatever the proposed exercise, it always has to have 3 phases:
– Warm-up: with the aim of increasing body temperature, increase breathing rate and blood flow. For example, walk for 10 minutes from slow to fast until you start running.
– Conditioning: the period in which cardiovascular resistance is improved. It is advisable not to exhaust yourself excessively. In this way, you should be able to maintain a conversation easily during the exercise. For example, run 30 minutes.
– Cool down: The body returns to its initial levels gradually. For example, walking, stretching…
- Set out some real and achievable goals:
You have to consider small goals in each session. For example: “Today I will take a second less” or “Today I will hold on for 10 more metres” … It is important that they are easy targets to achieve in each session. Always keeping in mind that the ultimate purpose of the proposed exercise is cardiovascular health.
- Register your improvements:
It is important that you write down your improvements in a notebook, on your computer, on your mobile phone… in this way the improvement itself will motivate you and help you to follow the established plan.
- Continuity of the work plan:
Intermittent training (this could be one week training and another not or 2 days training and 4 not) does not help your final goal. It is therefore important to have continuity and be consistent; consistency is the basis of successful training.
- Alternate rest and training:
Although it is important that the training has continuity, it is also important to respect phases or rest cycles for our body’s recovery. So plan your training and also your rest.
- Motivate yourself:
Look for incentives, small rewards if you carry out the work and if you achieve the small objectives set: buy sportswear for training, shoes…. Avoid incentives that worsen your physical condition (for example, related to food). It is also important to do the training accompanied by friends or family as this always helps to maintain motivation.
- Encourage your friends:
It is important that you encourage your friends to follow a training plan like yours. Your example can help others to start a good workout for cardiovascular health.
- Adrià, F., Fuster, V., Corbella, J. (2010). La cocina de la salud. Barcelona. Planeta.
- American Heart Association