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  • Carly Cusick

The Cardio Element

This month we’ll be focusing on the CARDIO, or CARDIORESPIRATORY, element of our class. Cardiovascular health refers to your heart and blood circulation, while cardiorespiratory also includes your lungs and your breath.

Cardio health can be improved through aerobic exercise, or exercise that makes your heart beat faster, makes you breathe heavier, and makes you sweat! Our classes are a GREAT way to get in cardio! Other ways to get in cardio include walking, hiking, swimming, biking, boxing, dancing, or playing various sports. It is recommended that we get 150 minutes every week of moderate aerobic exercise.

It is important to maintain our cardiorespiratory health. We want our heart and our lungs working efficiently and making the best use of oxygen so that we can continue to perform our activities of daily living as well as continue to do all the things I just listed: walk, bike, swim, dance, and play!

Checking your heart rate (HR) before, during, and after exercise is a great way to assess your cardio fitness (and I'll post soon about how to do this and what numbers to look for!) Another option, that I'm encouraging my classes to try, is called the “Ratings of Perceived Exertion” Scale, or basically, “How hard does this feel?” We’ll consider a “1” resting on the couch, and a “10” running a marathon (or, whatever YOUR version of a "10" might be). Remember, we want to get in 150 minutes of MODERATE aerobic exercise per week, or somewhere between a 5 and a 7 on that scale.

During class, if it feels like you’re working at only a 3 or a 4, try doing more! Move bigger, faster, add arms, add more steps, etc. If it feels like you’re consistently at an 8 or a 9, then do a little less! Move smaller, slower, or take away some steps or extra movements.

In our classes this month, we'll be looking at ways to increase or decrease our cardio intensity in each routine to help participants reach their ideal level on that scale. We're also adding in one more HIGH energy, HIGH cardio routine to help give everyone a boost in their cardio fitness.

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