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Cardiovascular exercise strengthens your heart, burns calories and releases endorphins. Doing as little as 30 minutes each day has the similar effect of an antidepressant, without any side effects.

A recent study in the UK showed that doing as little as five minutes of walking can reduce the intensity of nicotine withdrawal symptoms when quitting smoking. Cardio exercise does not necessarily have to be an intense run or an hour on a machine. Doing simple things throughout the day to get your heart rate elevated for even a short amount of time has significant benefits.

Five minutes here and ten minutes there can add up to quite a bit of time by the end of the day or week. Not having enough time to devote to exercise, or not being able to run is a common excuse given for not including cardio into daily life. However, neither a large amount of time nor the ability to run is necessary to improve your health.  When cardiovascular activity is incorporated into your lifestyle you will begin to look and feel better. As a result you will feel motivated to do even more. Start small and see what happens.

4 comments… add one

  • Avery Murray May 18, 2007, 7:51 pm

    Cardiovascular exercise really is a vital part of fitness and as one of the five components necessary for altering body composition it is a valuable tool for body fat reduction. Other benefits reported by the NASM included a reduction in blood pressure, an overall reduction in total cholesterol (while increasing the body’s HDL-cholesterol) and decreased clinical symptoms of anxiety, tension and depression.

    As Tatum already mentioned it is best to start small and set reasonable goals. You will be much more likely to follow through and get results. It is best to begin with a low to moderate intensity which is about 50-60% of your maximum heart rate. As you increase your fitness you will also want to increase the amount of time spent performing cardiovascular exercise as well as the intensity at which you do it. The NASM recommends 20 minutes of cardio three times a week to maintain a healthy heart.

    Pick an activity you enjoy…you are much more likely to spend time doing something you actually like. This could be walking, biking, or swimming. Running is not all there is! In fact it is generally a better idea to begin with something much lower impact as running can be very stressful on your joints.
    It is also a good idea to be mindful of the time of day that you will be exercising. If you plan on walking outside the mornings are best as the temperature is cooler and the UV index is not as damaging. Find yourself a partner! Having an exercise buddy tends to act as a great motivator and it can make exercising more enjoyable!

    Avery Murray CPT

  • Anonymous May 23, 2007, 10:44 pm

    >What do you recommended for people who have health problem? For older people is walking for a half hour enough a day or should they do something else like bike or swim? – Jeanette

  • Tatum_Total Mommy Fitness May 24, 2007, 4:13 pm

    >Walking is one of the best exercises that you can do. It has countless benefits whether you are young, old, fit or working on getting fit.

    Walking at a faster pace can actually burn a lot of calories. It’s been shown that whether you quickly walk 2 miles or jog 2 miles, the calorie expenditure will be very similar. So, just getting out and getting moving, regardless of what you are doing, has health benefits.
    Changing up any exercise routine is beneficial because it keeps your body guessing. The more efficient your body gets at an activity the less energy you have to use to perform it. By adding swimming, biking, jogging, and other activities that you enjoy, the body is continuously having to perform different movements and therefore burning more energy to perform the task. Calories are stored energy. The more you use in an activity the less will be available to be stored as fat.

    I hope that answered your question.

  • amanda May 25, 2007, 3:26 pm

    >Hey Tatum,
    It’s Amanda, Dr. Daniel’s wife. Love the blog! Great info and very practical for people. I need you to write something for me soon, so I’ll be contacting you, and I’m going to put a link on my blog to your blog! Gotta love the blogs!!!!

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