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Cardio Dos and Don’ts

Daily Health Tips update for June 16:

Many of us are avid athletes who know our cardio stuff, but for those of us who are new to the cardio world and want to jump into a cardio routine, let’s talk about what first steps we need to take and the pitfalls to avoid when working out.

  • Don’t overdo it. Enthusiasm is an admirable quality, but having too much of it when starting a workout routine can put you at risk for injury, plus it can burn you out quickly and leave you sore, making you less likely to workout any time soon.
  • Do work up to a comfortable level. If it’s been a while since you got off the couch, take it slow. Start by increasing your time, frequency and intensity of your workouts, in that order, and as your fitness levels improve, aim for a fitness goal of 30 minutes, 5 times a week.
  • Don’t put the pedal to the metal. Shooting straight into a cardio routine without a warm-up can actually shock your muscles.
  • Do ease into your workout with 5--10 minutes of low intensity activity. This helps your body transition itself from resting to motion a bit more gradually.
  • Don’t worry so much about your heart rate number. If you know your target heart rate and can easily get there and maintain it, great. If not, don’t worry about it. You’re still getting the benefits of a great workout by putting your body into motion.
  • Do base your workout around how it makes you feel. You should be able to comfortably have a conversation while maintaining cardio activity. If you’re huffing and puffing so that you can hardly speak, you might want to slow down.
  • Don’t quickly cease exercise after a strenuous workout. The risks of stopping an exercise without properly cooling down can range from dizziness to death.
  • Do cool down exercises. After a rigorous workout, take 5--10 minutes to cool down the same way you warmed up. You’ll feel less dizzy and your body’s reduction of blood flow to the heart won’t be so startling.



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