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Cardio could save your life

Here are the stats:

American College of Cardiology

More than 42 million women are currently living with some form of cardiovascular disease.

Heart disease is the leading cause of death of American women, killing more than a third of them.

50% of Caucasian women, 64% of African-American women, 60% of Hispanic women, and 53% of Asian/Pacific Islander women are sedentary and get no leisure time physical activity.

Government of Canada

In Canada, heart disease is the second leading cause of death after cancer, and is a leading cause of hospitalization.

In 2013, ischemic heart disease was the:

main cause of years of life lost (YLL) due to premature mortality

second leading cause of disability-adjusted life years (DALYs) lost

About 2.4 million (8.5%) Canadians 20 years and older are living with diagnosed ischemic heart disease. Between April 2012 and March 2013, there were about 159,000  new diagnosed cases, of which 57% were men and 43% were women. Ischemic heart disease is associated with 17.2 deaths per 1,000 individuals diagnosed with the disease.

Why Cardio?

For some it's a dreaded word and for others it's a passion they can't get enough of. Either way you look at it though, cardiovascular exercise is one of the key components that should never be left out of a fitness plan. Brad Schoenfeld, assistant professor in exercise science at Lehman College in New York. "If you can only do one thing, lifting is a must."

There are the obvious cardio benefits of performing cardio workouts – hence the name "cardio." During cardiovascular workouts like running, cycling or swimming, your heart and lungs have to work faster and harder than they do during strength sessions, meaning they become stronger and more efficient than they would during a given strength workout, Schoenfeld says. In fact, research published in The American Journal of Cardiology pinpointed aerobic exercise as the most efficient form of exercise for improving cardiometabolic health.

But, if you're not too into the dreadmill, and are more focused on strength gains, you can rest assured that a stronger cardiorespiratory system means better strength and muscle gains, says Dean Somerset, an Alberta-based kinesiologist and certified strength and conditioning specialist.

"Ideally, you should get some cardio exercise every day," Somerset says. "It can even be 10 minutes going for a brisk walk. You don't have to train for a marathon every day. Just do a daily something." A 2014 Iowa State University study even found that 10 minutes of running per day, and at slow speeds, results in a markedly reduced risk of death from all causes as well as heart disease. The American Heart Association recommends performing 150 minutes of cardio per week in 10- to 60-minute sessions.

What is Cardio

Anything that gets your heart working harder.

The ideal heart rate for improved oxygen use in your body, thus allowing for the more efficient workout, is between 139-152bpm (beats per minute). For those that don’t know much about their anatomy, that may seem high, but I assure you, once you start moving about, your heart can go from 0-100 real quick. Check your pulse after running up a flight of stairs and just feel how fast your heart is going. You may be surprised.

Benefits of Cardio

Cardio exercises are also responsible for a good respiratory system and heart condition. They strengthen the heart and also aids in lowering one’s blood pressure. They also increase the red blood cells count to mobilize oxygen within the body. Other benefits of cardio vascular exercises are included below.

-Increase in endurance

-Contributes to good mental state of mind and healthy skin

-Burns calories quickly

-Increases blood flow to the muscles

-Lowers heart resting rate

-Improves body metabolism

-Improves overall appearance

Other Forms Of Cardio

Speed Walking

Speed walking is just walking at a much faster pace than usual and makes your calves cane at the end. (I find this harder than jogging!)


Swimming will give you a full body workout. Swimming will also help develop strength more than any of the other forms of cardio. It is supposedly a good form of cardio, but as I can't swim (d'oh!), I have to leave this one out.   =(


Try skipping at a fast pace for 5 minutes. At the end of skipping for just 5 minutes, I feel like I have been running for 20 minutes. Skipping is also good for overall body toning. You also do not need to leave the house to do this one, either!

Martial Arts

Martial arts (e.g., karate, kickboxing) are enjoyable and a great workout if you are 'in' to contact sports (and like getting kicked!).

Journal of Sports Science & Medicine study, people who cranked out a 20-minute interval strength workout that included pushups, burpees, squats and lunges burned an average of 15 calories per minute. That's nearly twice as many calories as burned during long runs. Meanwhile, when, in a 2015 Obesity study, Harvard researchers followed 10,500 men for 12 years, they found that those who strength trained gained less abdominal fat, a marker of overall health, compared to those who spent the same amount of time performing traditional cardio workouts.

Let’s get going!

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