Tips for Cardiovascular Fitness
- Perform a minimum of 30 minutes of cardiovascular exercise 4-5 times per week.
- A simple formula for max heart rate is 220 – your age. The goal should be to attempt to exercise at a rate of 60 -70% of your max heart rate.
- Walk the stairs as often as possible. Walking down the stairs uses approximately ¼ of the amount of energy as it takes to walk up the stairs.
- Riding a bike is a great way to start your cardiovascular exercise program. It is easier than walking or running because your center of gravity does not change position.
- Compare your cardiovascular fitness to the “ideal” standards:
* Blood Pressure 120/80 mmHg/Athletes might have lower resting BP by 5-10 mmHg due to the increased strength of the heart.
* Heart Rate 65-75 beats per minute/Athletes 40 – 60 bpm.
* Respiratory rate 12-18 breaths per min at rest/the breathing rate of Athletes is fewer times per min due to increased strength and efficiency of the heart and lungs.
Improving Health with Cardiovascular Training
Sustained physical activity on a regular basis can improve our health, strengthen our muscles, sharpen our minds, and even help us to recover faster from injuries. Developing and maintaining a cardiovascular fitness program is a vital part of promoting wellness throughout our entire mental and physical being.
If you’ve sustained a musculoskeletal injury, your Physical Therapist can help you develop a program of recovery that includes promoting cardiovascular fitness.
What is Cardiovascular Fitness?
To understand cardiovascular fitness, it will helpful to review the overall system. The cardiovascular system delivers nutrients to and removes waste from all the parts of the body. The heart, blood vessels, and lungs work together to deliver oxygen throughout the entire body. The heart pumps blood throughout the system.
As blood travels from the heart to the lungs, the red blood cells are oxygenated. The oxygen-rich blood is carried by blood vessels known as arteries to every part of the body. As the red blood cells deliver oxygen, the white blood cells remove waste. The oxygen-depleted blood returns to the heart through blood vessels known as veins where it will be cleansed and refreshed with oxygen.
Cardiovascular fitness indicates the efficiency of the cardiovascular system to deliver and utilize oxygen throughout the body. Oxygen sustains all the tissues of the body while also helping damaged tissues heal. A cardiovascular fitness program can help improve efficiency while helping injured body parts recover.
Physical Therapy Can Help Increase Blood Flow to Injury Site
To help accelerate the healing process, a physical therapy program should help stimulate an increase in blood flow to the injury site. The Physical Therapist performs specific hands-on techniques, teaches related exercises, and uses modalities to help stimulate an increase in blood flow to the injury site.
A fit Cardiovascular System will more effectively transport an adequate oxygen-rich blood to the injury site than a poorly conditioned or unhealthy Cardiovascular System. Developing a routine of sustained physical activity helps to maintain cardiovascular fitness.
Smoking Hinders the Healing Process
Smoking both hinders and damages the Cardiovascular System and slows the healing process. The poisonous Carbon Monoxide in the smoke binds to the red blood cells, reducing the amount of oxygen than can be transported through the body. At the same time, smoking can also reduce the size of the blood vessels, which also hinders the transport of much-needed oxygen to the body. By reducing oxygen, the healing process is dramatically inhibited.
By maintaining cardiovascular fitness and following the exercise recommendations of the Physical Therapist, a patient can help promote a faster recovery of the injured area.