What is Cardiovascular Endurance? And How to Deal with it!


We all love, envy (good) and look up to athletes. What you may not know is the intense level of practice that goes behind those big names.

This is essential in allowing them to win championships. Games are tough.

For instance, football. A standard match lasts for 45-minute halves.

Maintaining optimal physical performance for this duration is one of the key factors that defines champions. This is what cardiovascular endurance is all about.

In this article, we will dissect the intricacies of cardiovascular endurance and help you become aerobically fit.

What is cardiovascular endurance?

Cardiovascular endurance is the physical ability to efficiently engage in fitness activities that require oxygen without getting overly exhausted.

During elevated physical activities, several parts of the body are engaged to make for successful movements. These include the heart, lungs, muscles and blood vessels.

Being unfit means that these organs cannot sufficiently sustain muscles long enough for meaningful physical activity.

Fortunately, regular cardio regimens like running, swimming and biking can change this. Again these exercises engage your cardiorespiratory endurance as well.

This allows you to perform these activities for extended periods without wearing out. Hence, cardiovascular endurance.

Benefits of cardiovascular Endurance

1. Increased lifespan

Maintaining proper cardiovascular fitness requires consistent physical activity. By engaging the body every day, the risk of chronic diseases is drastically reduced.

By burning, fat and elevating heart rate, cholesterol and blood sugar are kept at optimal levels.

This keeps you safe from diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity, osteoporosis and much more.

2. Good Shape

An active lifestyle comes with a lot of internal benefits.

However, you also get the added advantage of looking great.

This is attributed to good body fat management. I’m not suggesting that you ignore your diet, but, with an active lifestyle, it’s much easier to maintain good body weight.

3. Better Mental Health

By routinely engaging in cardio, your cardiac health is improved. This allows for better blood circulation.

When you are worked up, the body releases endorphins. As a result, you feel refreshed, energetic, lighter and brighter.

With consistency, it may get to a point where you’ll find it hard to miss your gym session.

Once you begin hitting your set milestones, a sense of mastery, self-control, and success follows soon after.

You will feel bold, confident and ready to socialize. This keeps away psychological conditions such as depression, anxiety and mood disorders.

By pushing beyond your limits, you build the very roots of discipline in your mind.

The same may reflect in other areas of your life including career, voluntary activities and all other forms of responsibilities.

4. Better Metabolism

The human body is insanely adaptive. Every time you engage in cardio, your heart, muscles, lungs and blood vessels have to work a little harder.

In the event you established a routine, radical changes in your physiology begin.

The heart pumps at a higher efficiency, more red blood cells are produced and more capillaries are formed. 

With improved capacity, your metabolism increases to supply additional energy.

The result is higher fitness and wellness levels.

How to check your level of Cardiovascular Endurance

The following are some methods used to test your cardiorespiratory endurance:

1. Metabolic Equivalents

This is a measure of how much energy you expend exercising versus at rest.

The scale starts at 1.

This refers to an exercise that has neither a positive nor negative impact on your endurance.

From 2 onwards, more effort is required out of your resting levels to complete the movements.

For example, 3.5METs are required for speed walking on a flat surface. In contrast, 23 METs are required to run a mile in 4.5 minutes.

This metric is what is used by trainers to calculate how many calories you can burn during specific activities.

Most cardio gym equipment has METs indicated as a statistic on the dash.

2. VO2 Max

Maximum oxygen uptake is the measure of the amount of oxygen the body consumes during aerobic exercises. It the most precise way of evaluating your cardiovascular endurance.  

The procedure is usually carried out by a hospital or laboratory specialist.

Some gyms offer this test as part of their standard package.

High end running watches like the Garmin Forerunner 945 have this feature inbuilt. The figures are displayed live or recorded in an infographic.

3. PACER test

Progressive Aerobic Cardiovascular endurance run is a type of maximal exercise. These are physical activities that seek to push you to your absolute limit.

The typical set up is based on a 15-20 meter track. The subject begins sprinting back and forth at increasing speeds.

When you can no longer run, a measure of your cardiovascular endurance is found.

Notice that this is a regimen for people who are physically and psychologically able to subject their bodies to elevated stress.

4. Submaximal Exercises

These are tests that do not require maximum effort. They are best for injured and generally unfit people. Great options in this category include the one-mile jog test, Rockport walk test, and YCMCA cycle test.

They must be conducted by a fitness specialist. Special equipment like the ergometer is also required.

How to Improve Cardiovascular Endurance

1. Running

Running is arguably one of the most accessible ways to improve your cardiovascular fitness. For best results, eliminate timing and distance. Run to your limit every time. You may incorporate short resting intervals once you hit the roof.

With time, you will find your limit in terms of distance, speed and time. Thereafter, you should aim to beat your previous records.

I’ll let you in on a little secret: as long as you stick to your schedule, improvements are inevitable.

2. Swimming

We focus on providing feasible solutions to our esteemed followers.

Swimming is another simple, yet effective way of improving cardiovascular fitness.

Ensure to push your limits, again.

Be careful not to drown though.

Over time you will enjoy other benefits aside cardiovascular endurance: stress relief, better shape, toned body and improved coordination.

3. Biking

Before you ride anywhere, ensure to have protective gear on and have your bicycle in good service condition.

Plan your route.

A little hilly terrain is recommended to increase the intensity of your workout.

Keep your heart rate as high as possible by moving as fast (and safe) as possible.

4. Skipping rope

Aside from the ability to burn 1,000 calories in an hour, skipping rope is a great test of your cardiovascular fitness.

It’s easily accessible from home and is of relatively low impact. This makes it ideal for most people.  

For starters, skip the rope as fast as you can until you can’t jump anymore.

Measure the duration of your session each time.

Next, add at least 30 more seconds to your limited time. Target to skip rope for this duration next time. Repeat the same procedure once you get comfortable with this new limit.  

Frequently asked Questions (FAQs)

#How do you teach cardiovascular endurance?

Regular cardio exercise is the way to teach cardiovascular endurance. Such activities include jogging, brisk walking, burpees, Zumba class, power yoga, boxing, hoping squats, and jumping jacks.

#What affects cardiovascular endurance?

Aerobic metabolism is the fuel for endurance exercise. Other factors that come into play include exhaustion, age, fitness level, and body weight.

#How long does it take to build cardiovascular endurance?

That entirely depends on your level of commitment. The harder you work out, the faster you can build your cardiovascular endurance. If you are a beginner, 15-20 minutes, 3 days a week of moderate-intensity running would be a great place to start. A moderately fit individual can do 20-60 minutes per day for 5-7 days a week. On average, 30 minutes of intensive cardio at least 5 days a week is the way to go if you are to build your cardiovascular endurance.

#Can you get fit in 3 weeks?

Absolutely. Just do not expect to be LeBron-fit in 3 weeks. You can go from sedentary to active in 3 weeks. A consistent cardio routine is essential along with just as much weightlifting and endurance training.

#What are the signs of poor cardiovascular endurance?

  • Shortness of breath during light activities
  • High body temperatures and sweating before reaching exhaustion
  • Mood swings
  • Insomnia

#How do you get fit if you are unfit?

Curate a solid exercise timetable. Do basic research on the types of exercises you wish to participate in. Get started right away and follow your schedule to the latter. Follow along with healthy dieting, hydration, and good sleep.


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