Cardio is an important key to a workout program if your goal is to improve overall health. Cardio workouts can help with weight loss, heart health and reduction of stress. Many of us don’t get the cardio workouts in. We feel that doing activities like running are too hard on the body. The good news is that you don’t have to do high impact workouts like running. Doing a low impact cardio workout can give you the same benefits without all the wear and tear of running.
In this article we will go over the benefits of a low impact cardio workout. As well as some ideas of the workouts you can add to your exercise program.
Improves aerobic conditioning
What is aerobic conditioning? well it’s defined as: “Aerobic conditioning is regular physical training in aerobic activities over an extended period of time. Aerobic fitness is the capacity to exercise in aerobic” Improving aerobic conditioning is important because having an aerobic base provides a solid foundation for most exercise programs. For example when it comes to training for a race, building an aerobic base before you start your training cycle will help you handle the intensity of the training cycle. This is because your body will be able to use the aerobic energy system more efficiently which will allow your body to hold on to fuel like carbohydrates for the more intense parts of the workout. The reason that aerobic conditioning is so important is that it trains the body to use fat as a fuel source rather than carbohydrates. The reason why you want to use fat for fuel is because you have a nearly endless supply of fuel from your fat storage. This is key because our bodies can only hold a limited amount of carbohydrates.
How does it improve aerobic conditioning?
Doing low impact cardio workouts helps improve aerobic conditioning by allowing you to do large amounts of training without the stress on the body. If you are trying to improve aerobic conditioning with only running you might end up injured or burnt out with a high volume of training. Another reason low impact cardio workouts help with aerobic conditioning is because you can control the effort of the workout. When we do a running workout when we are deconditioned. It can be challenging to keep our heart rate in the aerobic zone. This is because running is basically a workout where we are doing a series of small jumps from one foot to the other. Doing a low impact exercise such as incline walking, cycling and the elliptical machine can make staying in these zones a lot easier.
How to build an aerobic base
Above I talked about how low impact cardio workouts can help you improve aerobic conditioning which will give you a solid aerobic base to build on. How you do this is an important topic. First you want to figure out what low impact exercises you plan on doing for your base building program. After you pick your low impact workouts you can program them into your week. Your goal should be to do 30-60 minutes of training 5-6 days a week. The heart rate should be around 140 bpm during these training sessions. Your base training cycle will last about 8-12 weeks. Remember if you’re just starting out you might want to stick to the 30 minute workouts and build up to 60 minutes. Low impact exercises include incline walking,walking, swimming ,cycling, rowing and the elliptical machine. There’s a bunch of other exercises you can do but these are some of the most common.
How to do high intensity training
Now that we have talked about building aerobic conditioning with low impact cardio workouts, it’s time to go over how to build a stronger aerobic capacity. Aerobic capacity is defined as: “Aerobic capacity is the highest amount of oxygen consumed during maximal exercise in activities that use the large muscle groups in the legs or arms and legs combined. … Aerobic conditioning is regular physical training in aerobic activities over an extended period of time.”. The best way to improve aerobic capacity with low impact cardio is to do interval training. Interval training is a style of workout that has you doing a mix of hard, easy, hard, easy training. This would look something like this.
1:00 minutes easy/rest
2:00 minutes hard
Repeat 8-10 times
This type of workout can be done using the incline walking,walking, swimming ,cycling, rowing and the elliptical machine workouts that we talked about before. The goal is to be almost out of breath at the end of each interval. Doing workouts like these will improve your aerobic capacity, VO2 max and will help you to cope with being uncomfortable.
What is VO2 max: “VO2 max, or maximal oxygen consumption, refers to the maximum amount of oxygen that an individual can utilize during intense or maximal exercise. This measurement is generally considered the best indicator of cardiovascular fitness and aerobic endurance.”
As you can see in the definition VO2 max is one of the best ways to improve cardiovascular fitness and this is why it’s important to add these workouts into our program. It’s important to note that you should build an aerobic base before cranking up the heat with interval training. Having a strong base will help you to recover between work sets and lead to a better interval workout. Also having an aerobic base will help you avoid burnout in your training program.
How to add intervals into your program
Adding intervals should be done after you build a solid base of training. Intervals should be done 1-3 times a week depending on your fitness level. Remember that more interval training does not mean better. If you do interval training everyday you’ll most likely burn out and not have energy to see improvements during the training cycle. With interval training you can simply replace your base training workouts with interval workouts. Make sure you spread them out with at least one day of rest between each workout.
Doing a low impact cardio workout can be a great way to improve aerobic conditioning and aerobic capacity while avoiding injury and getting burnt out. Doing things like incline walking,walking, swimming ,cycling, rowing and the elliptical machine can be a nice replacement for activities such as running or jogging. Remember to build a base before kicking up the intensity of your workout program.
Check out our article benefits of low impact cardio