A Lean Life

Cardiovascular Workouts to Improve Your Health and Lean Your Body

Cardiovascular workouts are a crucial factor in your overall health.  You probably hear the frequent news reports about how the country is getting fatter, and you might wonder, “Just how fat are we, and why is being physically active so important?”

Cardio for Weight LossWell, let’s start with a few important and relevant stats…

  • Two-thirds of all deaths in the United States are the result of heart disease (39%), cancer (23%), and diabetes (3%)
  • 65% of all adults are overweight or obese
  • 33% of adults have high cholesterol, and 1/3 of these adults have cholesterol levels considered high risk
  • 25% of adults have hypertension (high blood pressure)
  • 25% of Americans have cardiovascular disease

There are three all-powerful things you can do to overcome these threatening stats:

  1. Avoid tobacco
  2. Eat a nutritious and balanced diet
  3. Stay physically active

I’m not preaching…I used to be a victim to #1 and failed often on #2 and #3!  I decided to make life changes, and you can too.  I would be honored to show you my journey – About Me.

The cardiovascular workouts on this site will ensure that you exceed the above requirement for “physically active.”  They are simple, but yet very powerful.  They are a key part of the 30on3 Workouts ● simple, proven, powerful  workout plan – 30 minute workouts, 3x a week.  This fitness plan is tailor made for the super busy person that still values fitness and health.

There was a time that I also thought I was just too busy for fitness.  That way of thinking proved a heavy toll, as I woke up one day 60 pounds overweight and had no time for exercise.

Benefits of Cardio

Jogging for Weight LossThe benefits of consistent and effective cardiovascular workouts cover nearly every aspect of your life:

  • Improved circulation
  • Improved heart health (the heart is a muscle, so it naturally gets stronger and more efficient with exercise)
  • Reduce stress and anxiety
  • Helps you maintain a healthy weight, and lose weight if you are overweight or obese
  • Sleep better
  • Significantly reduce the risk of many diseases: heart disease, cancer, diabetes, high blood pressure
  • Improves cholesterol
  • Improves your appearance and thus your confidence
  • Increases your body’s overall efficiency, and therefore increases energy levels

And maybe the most important benefit of all…you simply just feel better.  Your body will feel better, and you will feel better about yourself.

Click here for more Benefits of Cardio

Stretching for Cardio Workouts

Stretching RoutineStretching for your cardiovascular workouts is very important.  It not only prepares your muscles for your workout, but proper stretching is the most effective way to avoid injury.

I have injured ankles, calf muscles, hamstrings, and even my hip as the result of not properly stretching.  It has nearly always been the result of rushing through my stretching routines because I was in a hurry.

Equally important…if you do strain a muscle during your cardio workout, make sure you take off plenty of time to heal and recover.  So often I have been so anxious to get back on track, and it does not pay in the end.  Take your time in recovery…it is well worth it.  My rule is this…once I think I am ready, I take 1 more week to be safe.

Click here for a complete array of Stretching Routines for the whole body.

Cardiovascular Workouts

Cardio Workout

Cardio Workout

There are many different types of cardiovascular workouts, and most are very effective as long as you achieve your 50% to 90% target heart rate.

The most important thing is to find the workouts that are best suited for you.  Some people like variety, and some like a single type of cardio all the time.

From my days as an Army Ranger, I developed a comfort with jogging.  I did it nearly every day in the Army for four years.  It is still my go-to cardio workout to this day, but I do mix it up with stationary bike and treadmill for low-intensity, as well as HIIT and Interval Training for higher intensity.

HIIT workouts are well-suited for my 30on3 Workouts ● simple, proven, powerful concept for the super busy person, because they are shorter in time but much more intense.  Click on the HIIT link below.

The 5 basic types of cardiovascular workouts are:

  1. Long Slow Distance (LSD) – Also known as low intensity cardio and a form of continuous training, this is cardio that consists of long duration but relatively low intensity.
  2. Interval Training – This involves training at high intensity for a short period, followed by a low intensity recovery period.  An example of this would be a quick run (not quite a sprint) for 3 minutes, followed by a slow jog for 3 minutes, and performing this rotation.
  3. HIIT – High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) alternates between short, supercharged cardio followed by a low-intensity recovery period.  The science on HIIT has shown very powerful effectiveness.
  4. Fartlek Training – Cardio that mixes interval training with continuous training. Circuit Training – Combines cardio with strength training.
  5. Circuit Training – Combines cardio with strength training.

Cardio Heart RateWith all 5 cardio types, it is important to understand the role your cardio heart rate, as your heart rate determines the intensity of the exercise and keeps you in your training range.

Another great workout that includes cardio as well as strength building, is a calisthenics workout.  It is simple and effective, and does not require a gym or any equipment.

Cardio With an Injury

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESYou might have to consider an injury in your cardio selection, and I have had to do that at various times in my training.

If you are dealing with any type of injury, such as lower back strain, ankle strain, knee problems, hip problems, or others, you should consider low-impact cardio such as an elliptical machine or stationary bike.

This type of cardio will keep you on your fitness plan, but do so with workouts that accommodate your particular injury.

It is also a great idea if you have any type of recurring lower body injures, such as knee problems, ankle problems, hip problems, etc.  This type of exercise really takes the load off of your joints, and provides a smooth, low-jolt movement.

Cardio Safety

Make sure you warm-up your muscles properly prior to jumping in to your routine.

Last, but most importantly, always check with your doctor prior to any new cardiovascular workouts.

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