Is Your Cardio Exercise Really Making Your Heart And Lungs Stronger And Healthier? Maybe Not! Common Cardio Exercise Can Actually Damage Your Heart, Lungs And Muscles.
I was at the bookstore perusing the Health Magazines and most were insisting that I had to perform “Cardio” exercises.
That evening when I was at the gym I overheard a trainer telling a client that she had to do “Cardio” everyday.
You probably don’t like doing it, yet you feel obliged to conform to the “Cardio” mantra. After all, who doesn’t want to have a healthy heart and lungs? Right?
The term “cardio” (short for cardiovascular endurance training) commonly referred as exercise for your heart. But is your “cardio exercise” really making your heart and lungs stronger and healthier?
When you examine how your heart and lungs change as a result of cardio exercise, you will find it getting weaker in some critical areas.
The heart and lungs tend to simulate the changes which are normally caused by stress and aging.
Consistently performing the same continuous cardiovascular challenge by repeating the same movement, at the same rate, thousands of times, without any variation and without rest is going against your bodies nature.
Yet nature has designed your body to adapt to whatever environment it encounters.
If you ask your body to perform an activity repeatedly and routinely, it will gradually adapt the systems involved to meet the changes more effectively. This is how you can build muscle in the short term.
But what adaptive changes does continuous cardiovascular activity cause?
Cardio which can be a continuous duration exercise that taxes your endurance can produce some unique challenges your body must overcome.
Your systems must not run out of energy, overheat, or be overwhelmed by it own metabolic wastes.
Your bodies primary adaptation will be to become more efficient at light, long, continuous, low-energy output.
One of the ways your body does that is by gradually rebuilding your heart, lungs, blood vessels, and muscles to be as small as possible, while maintaining the minimum “horsepower” required performing the requested activity.
Imagine a high performance race car going 20 miles per hour. It wastes fuel and raw energy performing at such a low energy level when it was designed for a much higher performance level.
Your heart, lungs and muscles are no different. When they are exposed to low level continuous endurance exercising your body induces your heart, lungs and muscles to “downsize”, because becoming smaller allows you to go further, more efficiently, with less rest and less fuel.
Exercise Heart Rate, The Dangers of “Downsizing”.
So what is wrong with increasing durational capacity through downsizing?
Your heart’s reserve capacity is that portion of your hearts “maximal output” that you do not use during ordinary activity. Instead of building your heart strength, downsizing will steal your heart of its vital reserve capacity.
Imagine the race car analogy again, your reserve capacity is the difference between your normal cruising speed of 20 mph and your top speed of 210 mph. Unlike a static mechanical device, your heart, lungs and muscles are biological. Your cells will adapt and change to their environment.
So if you downsize your heart and lungs through ‘low level continuous endurance exercising’, then you have replaced your reserve capacity for efficiency with this type of activity. This forces your organs to operate dangerously close to their maximal output when conditions change and your body is challenge by a greater demand.
This creates a problem you do not need, especially for your heart.
Heart attacks do not occur because of a lack of endurance. They occur when there is a sudden increase in cardiac demand that exceeds the heart’s capacity. Giving up your heart’s reserve capacity to adapt to unnatural bouts of continuous prolonged-duration output only increases your risk of sudden cardiac death.
And you thought your were helping your heart, right!
A study of long-distance runners showed that, after a workout, their blood levels and the oxidation of LDL (bad) cholesterol and triglycerides increased.
High triglycerides dramatically increase your risk of heart disease. The researchers also found that prolonged running disrupted the balance of blood thinners and thickeners, elevating inflammatory factors and clotting levels – both signs of heart distress.
These changes are not an indication of a heart that is becoming stronger with long-duration exercise.
Exercising for long periods makes your heart adept at handling a 60-minute jog, but it accomplishes this feat by trading in its ability to provide you with big bursts when circumstances might require it.
The solution to preventing heart maladies and protecting and strengthening your heart is to induce the opposite adaptive response produced by continuous cardio and increase your heart’s reserve capacity.
Exercise Heart Rate, Larger, more rapid cardiac output that is readily available is what you really need.
Researchers from the University of Missouri found that short bouts of exercise were more effective for lowering fat and triglyceride levels in the blood then long duration exercise.
Another study revealed that the duration of exercise routines predicts the risk of heart disease in men. They found that several shorter intense sessions of physical activity were more effective for lowering the risk of coronary heart disease.
Exercise Heart Rate, The Secret to a Strong and Healthy Heart.
Short bursts of high output intensity driven activity, strengthen and develops your heart, lungs, muscles and kept in general keeps you fit.
How do you recreate that kind of physical challenge?
The answer is to create an “oxygen debt” by:
- Exercise at a pace you can not sustain for more than a short period.
- Demand your lungs for more oxygen than they can provide.
The difference between the oxygen you need and the oxygen you get is your oxygen debt.
This causes you to pant and breathe hard after you’ve stopped the physical exertion. This continues until you have replaced the oxygen you’re lacking.
Want an example: Sprint as fast as you can for 30 seconds. When you stop, you’ll continue to breathe hard. This is the kind of high-output challenge you can’t sustain for very long. You will have reached a supra-aerobic zone.
This type of exercise is very different from doing an aerobic workout for 45 minutes.
When you perform these types of exercises, you will quickly start to build up reserve capacity in your heart. This is exactly what your heart needs to prevent heart attacks and heart disease.
Exercise Heart Rate, Do you want a Basic Heart, Lungs and Muscle Exercise?
Here is a Basic Heart, lungs and Muscle Cardio workout to get you started in improving your Heart Health and as an added benefit, it helps speed up weight loss.
Do one-minute intervals – either running or riding a bike.
Work yourself up to a speed that you cannot sustain for very long. After one minute, rest. You can rest by slowing down to a walk or very slow speed. Do this 3 or 4 times.