The Best Cardio Workout Could Be A Lifesaver!

"To enjoy the glow of good health, you must exercise."   Gene Tunney

The best cardio workout may have slight variations, depending on your overall health situation as you begin this potentially life saving workout regimen.

I’ll be passing along several ideas for your best cardio workout.  You may not use all of them, but doing something is far better than ignoring the entire concept.

Ignoring the solution is still a major problem in our country.  The most recent information I’ve read states that only about 3.5% of Americans are following even the suggested minimum 30 minutes of physical activity, for five days a week.

Regular readers at know that our heart experts recommend building up to 60 minutes per day, after going over the plan with your personal physician if you already have a heart related condition.

That very low level of physical activity clearly explains the rising rate of chronic disease including stroke, diabetes, and heart attack.  It also points to an epidemic in overweight children and adults.

 A solid cardio workout is essential in combating obesity, inflammation, high blood pressure and diabetes.  I’ve been picking up the pace due to my own family history of heart disease.

But new evidence is showing that an effective cardio workout can actually help repair some heart attack damage.  A report from the United Kingdom showed that exercise activates stem cells that can repair heart muscle. 

A strong cardio workout plan will help your body actually create new blood vessels to enhance the flow of blood to your heart.  In the event of a heart attack, these new blood vessels could be a life saver.

Exercise is crucial to eliminating the most dangerous type of weight.  In our page about belly fat weight loss exercises, I expanded on some specific types of workouts.

So we know we need to exercise.  If you already had a heart attack or have been diagnosed with heart disease, first meet with your doctor to be sure you don’t over do it.  If you are like me, trying to avoid a cardiovascular system disease, it is time to get after it.  And if you are in the group that needs a weight loss program, here is a good start.

Stand Up And Walk To Your Best Cardio Workout

We’ll start the best cardio workout with some exercise options…

The easiest one is of course walking.  It is low impact, relatively injury free and can be done just about anywhere.  In our town, even in the winter we can use the local high school hallways after class is over.

The American Heart Association reports that a brisk walk is just as good at lowering heart disease risks as even higher intensity workouts.  Of course if you love to run, go for it.

If you need to start at only 15 minutes and work up to that magic 60 minute level, then start there.  Maybe walking in groups or in the case of those who have already had a heart attack, maybe you form a walking team. 

The Surgeon General has gotten on board with a program called "Step It Up."  The idea is for cities to work on providing better ways to inspire walking.   Here are five points in that plan.

  1. Make walking a national priority
  2. Design communities that make it safe and easy to walk for people of all ages and abilities
  3. Promote programs and policies to support walking where people live, learn, work, and play
  4. Provide information to encourage walking and improve walkability
  5. Fill surveillance, research, and evaluation gaps related to walking and walkability

Adding Diversity

Next up on our cardiovascular exercise regimen is riding a bicycle.   This is another pretty easy option that will also build leg strength and increase flexibility and balance.  I know of some people who park the car in the summer and bike to work. 

Riding a bike is similar to walking in that it saves on wear and tear on your knees and ankles, which is a fairly common problem for runners.

Spinning is getting more popular, but caution is advised because some of those classes can get pretty intense. 

If you have access to a pool, the third cardiovascular exercise would be a swimming workout.  It is also great for those with arthritis.  Water aerobics classes would be a substitute for those who don’t swim.

Weight training is another good idea for just about everyone.  I read where Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg still does weight training at age 80.  Lighter weights would be all you need, even if you just use a laundry soap bottle.  Work up in repetitions all the while using the proper breathing technique of exhale upon lift and inhale on the way back down.  Muscle mass deteriorates after age 40 and really speeds up after age 50.

If you want to step up and diversify a little, rowing machines and elliptical trainers will work a variety of muscles at once.  Zumba and other aerobic dance programs have become popular with many women as a cardiovascular workout.  As we noted in the page about heart attack symptoms in women, heart disease is not just a male problem.

Doing everything is not important.  Doing something is vital.  I offer these choices to give you some pieces to fit into your situation.  You can work up to your best cardio workout regimen.

Setting The Goal With The End In Mind

We'll follow the wisdom of Stephen Covey in this page.  The master of goal achieving teaches us to see the end result as we set goals.  Then formulate the plans around that vision.

So here is a good plan to consider…

60 minutes of walking every day.  If you can do it in one session, that is better, but if time doesn’t permit, break it in to two slots.  If you mix it up once in a while with one hour of laps in a pool or an hour long aerobics class, so much the better.  The key is that 60 minutes of activity.

Three days a week, work in a half hour of some kind of strength training.  If you have a gym close by, go for that.  If not, use that laundry bottle or some calisthenics at home.

Heart related disease is the number one killer in America for both men and women.  This is the best cardio workout I’ve seen.  Much of it came from our heart health expert, Dr Chauncey Crandall.  Please check out his excellent book, "Fix It."  You'll find it included in our list of classic books.

As he clearly states, “Now is the time to start, so don’t put off beginning your exercise program any longer.  Your life depends on it.” 

One final note on this important topic.  You cannot exercise away bad diet choices.  Coca Cola is pitching an ad campaign that suggests you can drink their sugar-laced or aspartame packed products and avoid chronic disease by exercising more.

It isn't true.  Diet and exercise go together.  Add the Mediterranean diet to this best cardio workout.  Your life will be invigorated and energized.  And longer.

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Just below is a quote from "Don't Sweat The Small Stuff" by Richard Carlson.  The chapter title is "Open Your Heart To Compassion." 

"Every day we are given hundreds of opportunities to practice compassion in action.  We can learn to be less reactive and live with more patience.

We can smile when others are serious.  We can drive our cars more carefully, pick up litter on the streets, recycle, and reduce our consumption.

We can resolve conflicts rather than create them, and we can become less judgemental and more inclusive.  When someone is aggressive, we can teach them to be more peaceful.  Instead of waiting for an example, we can be the example.

The more compassion that enters your heart, the happier and more peaceful you will become.  By knowing that you are doing your part to create a better world-whatever form that takes-you will fill any void that exists in your life, and you will begin to find the peace you are looking for."

What's New?

Just below is an article from Peter Schiff about passing the buck from one administration to the next.

Owning The Bubble

Just below is a link to look up your congressional representatives.   Let them know you expect accountability.

Congressional Representative Look Up