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Cardiovascular Exercise Principles

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Aerobic Training Zone
The third zone, the Aerobic Zone, requires that you train at 70-80% of your max HR. This is the preferred zone if you are training for an endurance event. In this zone, your functional capacity will greatly improve and you can expect to increase the number and size of blood vessels, increase vital capacity and respiratory rate and achieve increases in pulmonary ventilation, as well as increases in arterial venous oxygen.

Moreover, stroke volume (amount of blood pumped per heart beat) will increase, and your resting heart rate will decrease. What does all this mean? It means that your cardiovascular and respiratory system will improve and you will increase the size and strength of your heart. In this zone, 50% of calories burned are from carbohydrates, 50% are from fat and less than 1% is from protein. And, because there is an increase in intensity, there is also an increase in the total number of calories burned.

Anaerobic Training Zone
The next training zone is called the Threshold or Anaerobic zone, which is 80-90% of your max HR. Benefits include an improved VO2 maximum (the highest amount of oxygen one can consume during exercise) and thus an improved cardiorespiratory system, and a higher lactate tolerance ability which means your endurance will improve and you'll be able to fight fatigue better.

Since the intensity is high, more calories will be burned than within the other three zones. Although more calories are burned in this zone, 85% of the calories burned are from carbohydrates, 15% from fat and less than 1% are from protein.

Red-line Training Zone
The last training zone is called the Red-line Zone, which is 90-100% of your max HR. Remember, training at 100% is your maximum heart rate (maximum HR), your heart rate will not get any higher. This zone burns the highest total number of calories and the lowest percentage of fat calories.

Ninety percent of the calories burned here are carbohydrates, only 10% are fats and again less than one percent is protein. This zone is so intense that very few people can actually stay in this zone for the minimum 20 minutes, or even five minutes. You should only train in this zone if you are in very good shape and have been cleared by a physician to do so. Usually, people use this zone for interval training. For example, one might do three minutes in the Aerobic Zone and then one minute in this Redline Zone and then back to the Aerobic Zone (this is called interval training and will be discussed further in a future article).

I hope you have found the information in this article helpful. You now have the knowledge to achieve the results you desire and the benefits your body deserves.

Your greatest challenge, however, is not learning new cardiovascular exercises or the proper technique; it's not learning the heart rate zone to train at for your goals and interests or how to monitor the intensity. Nor is it deciding when to try new cardiovascular exercises. The greatest challenge facing you at this moment is deciding whether you are willing to take action and make time for yourself and make cardiovascular exercise a priority.

When you begin achieving great results, the excitement and fun you experience will make the change well worth the effort. Action creates motivation! Good luck: I hope you enjoy all the wonderful benefits of an effective cardiovascular exercise program.

Chad Tackett is President of Global Health & Fitness.

02/24/04






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