Cardiorespiratory fitness is the ability to sustain dynamic exercise that utilizes large muscle groups over a sustained period of time, while keeping your heart rate up. It is also known as cardiovascular endurance or aerobic fitness, and it’s a crucial aspect of overall health. This is because it directly affects how well your muscles can use oxygen during exercise. Cardiorespiratory endurance is one of the five most important components of physical fitness, along with muscular strength, body composition, flexibility and endurance.
Your cardiovascular and respiratory systems work together to transport fuel (oxygen) to your muscles during intense physical activity. This system includes the heart, blood vessels and lungs. If you have low cardiorespiratory fitness, your resting heart rate is higher and the sympathetic arm of the autonomic nervous system works harder. This can lead to increased fatigue and intolerance of exercise. High levels of cardiorespiratory fitness can decrease your risk of chronic diseases, like heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
The best way to improve your cardiorespiratory fitness is to participate in moderate-to high-intensity aerobic exercises. This will help you build stronger muscles and increase your stamina. Aim for at least 30-60 minutes of cardiovascular exercise per day. You can do a variety of aerobic exercises, including walking, swimming, jogging, hiking, dancing and biking. You can also get a great cardio workout by doing a HIIT routine, which is an interval training exercise that involves short bursts of high-intensity exercises, interspersed with short recovery periods.
When you exercise regularly, you will not only improve your cardiovascular and respiratory fitness but also increase the efficiency of your metabolic and endocrine systems. This will result in a healthier weight, reduced risk of heart disease and improved mental health.
Another reason why cardiorespiratory fitness is important is because it can significantly reduce your risk of developing chronic diseases, such as high blood pressure and diabetes. Regular cardiovascular exercise increases the size of your blood cells and the surface area of your blood capillaries, which can improve your ability to absorb and deliver oxygen to your muscles during intense activity.
Getting enough regular cardiovascular exercise is one of the most effective ways to improve your cardiorespiratory fitness, but you can also work on increasing your lung capacity by practicing breathing exercises. You can do simple exercises, such as deep breathing or brisk walking, to breathe more deeply and strengthen your lung function.
Increasing your cardiovascular and respiratory endurance will allow you to exercise longer and at a greater intensity without becoming tired as easily. It will also help prevent chronic diseases, such as heart disease and diabetes. This is because it can lower your blood pressure, enhance HDL (good) cholesterol, decrease blood proteins and fats that contribute to blood clots, reduce stress and anxiety, decrease the development of diabetes, prevent heart failure, fight obesity and even reduce the risk of certain cancers. The most popular cardiorespiratory endurance exercise is running. You can start by putting your feet together and jumping to the side, spreading them wider than your hips, then returning to a standing position.
Milena Estêvão is a YouTuber passionate about sharing her experiences (challenges, successes and motivations) in the fitness activities she is involved in.
FIND HER ON INSTAGRAM OR YOUTUBE THROUGH THE BELOW LINKS