Fundamental of the Month – April
(This blog post was originally published on May 21, 2021 at Level One Training and Fitness. The content has been updated.)
Oh, cardio… years ago, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention along with the American College of Sports Medicine collaborated to create a list of 4 fundamental activities for US adults. These activities need to be completed weekly and can result in better health. The first one we’ll talk about is moderate intensity cardiorespiratory-centric activities. It was recommended that we all get a minimum of 150 minutes of cardio weekly. We’re talking walking, swimming, bicycling, stairclimbing, rowing, etc. For the purposes of this article, we’ll use walking; it’s the easiest, requires no equipment or facilities, and can be done virtually anywhere. And we’ll also get into the 22 minutes shortly, but first…
What’s Moderate Intensity Cardio?
Let’s say you’re out on a walk with a friend and you’re having a chat. If you’re slightly out of breath, then you’re likely moving at a moderate intensity. If you don’t feel slightly out of breath, then you’re probably chatting a bit too much and need to step up your pace a bit. Everyone is constructed just a little bit differently so be sure to find a happy medium if you’re walking with someone. Either way, we’ll see better results when we’re working a little harder at our exercise than with spilling the latest tea… but I mean still spill the tea of course! wink (Photo by Uriel Mont on Pexels.com)
But, 150 Minutes Weekly?! Of Cardio?!
150 minutes weekly may seem like a lot, but if you’ve seen any of my social media posts or email blasts, then you know it’s best to break it up. Are you an early riser? Have a one hour lunch break? Prefer the evening sky? Then take a 22 minute walk every day.
Is there too much to juggle on a daily basis? Work? Kids? Volunteerism? If your obligations prevent you from taking 22 minutes daily, then double it up and walk every other day for 45 minutes. Still not doable? Then about 1 hour every third day works too! If you’re more the hiker/long walks on the beach type, then by all means, save the 150 minutes for the weekend and have at it!
Like all things in health, in the end, the choice to set aside time for exercise is completely up to you. 150 minutes of cardio IS doable; it only requires a little bit of advanced planning, a little motivation, and a little commitment/accountability. Within a month and barring any health conditions, you should start to feel your energy levels perk up along with your endurance and you might also see a drop in your blood pressure alongside your resting heart rate.
And remember, as you build up your strength and endurance over time, feel free to push past 150 minutes and do more! Again, 150 minutes is a minimum and more (in this particular case) is a good thing!
The trainer in me will now ask, “Can you see yourself doing this? Can you visualize going for a walk? Is it something you’re capable of doing? How can we help?” Let me know in the comments your particular brand of weekly cardio or if you’ve just started and how you plan to keep going.