Heart Fitness


Be Fit
Cardiovascular Fitness

Let's join Lynn, from the YMCA, to learn more about how cardiovascular fitness can benefit you, at any age.

Lynn Tougas(YMCA Specialist/Adult Programs):
Aerobic exercises are better described as cardiovascular exercises. It's any exercise that extends beyond two minutes and keeps your heart pumping. We want to worry about our cardiovascular fitness because overall it's going to affect your well-being.

Cardiovascular activity will benefit your:
Blood circulation
And you'll feel better

Lynn Tougas:
It's going to affect your weight down the road, it's going to affect your bones down the road, it's going to affect your blood circulation, it's going to affect your whole body,... so you're going to enjoy a better quality of life by adding some cardiovascular activity to your life and you're going to live longer and live happier.

Getting started:
Talk to your doctor first
Start slowly
Gradually build time and frequency
Find an activity you enjoy

Lynn Tougas: First thing you want to do when starting a physical activity program is talk to your doctor first - especially if you're new to exercise. Then you want to start light and start with a short term, short bout of exercise. So you might want to start out with ten minutes. And then, the following week, you might want to do 12 to 15 minutes.And maybe the first week you did one to three days a week of the ten minutes,... And maybe the second week you might do three to five days. And as you go on in time, you just increase the time per day that you're active, a little bit, and then you increase the days per week that you're active as well.

With cardiovascular exercises, what you got to do is find something that suits you best. So there's sports, there's walking, there's hiking - if you like nature - bird watching, taking the kids to the park, swimming, aquatics, aqua-fitness, house cleaning, vacuuming. Any of those activities that get your heart pumping a little bit more for an extended period beyond two minutes is cardiovascular exercise and they're all suitable for getting you fitter.

Target heart rate:
Check with your doctor
Can be affected by age, medication, and health conditions

Lynn Tougas:
A way to know your heart is pumping for that extended period beyond two minutes is the target heart rate. Check with your doctor or your health professional. Age can affect it, medications can affect it and certain health conditions can affect what your target heart rate should be. You can also just do a Talk test. And if you are getting that heart pumping for that extended period beyond two minutes, you will be able to talk in broken sentences, breathing a little bit, not struggling,.. and that is your talk test. So that will get you beyond the two minutes and you're definitely working your heart.

The Talk Test:
Able to talk in broken sentences
Breathing a little harder than normal

Lynn Tougas: So if you're sedentary and you're not exercising right now, start off with two to three days a week, at just adding ten minutes of cardiovascular exercise, one brisk walk per day. And if you do experience some sort of pain and fatigue after that ten minutes per day, just rest, stretch, drink lots of water, eat healthier foods and that can help you recover from those bouts of exercise and keep you going and keep you motivated.

Cardiovascular fitness is both preventative and it's maintaining your overall health, so you can prevent things - like an adult onset-diabetes - and you can maintain your health if you do have a heart condition.

So for someone that has had a heart attack, you can improve, still improve your fitness, after having had a heart attack. You can see your doctor first, and then get into a proper fitness program at the recommendation of your doctor. And then you can still get better and recover from that heart attack.

The ultimate goal is to just feel better.

You want to feel ease of those activities of daily living, you want to feel lighter on your feet, you want to feel like... carrying the groceries home is a little bit easier, taking the kids to the park is a little bit easier, and that is really your ultimate goal.