Improving your health fitness through cardiovascular exercise, so you get RESULTS.

Introduction to PROGRESSION training techniques

 


by STEFAN, BAppSci, IBLS-AIS, CFT

Perhaps the most common type of exercise is aerobic exercise, also called cardiovascular exercise, which utilizes oxygen and helps burns fat. This type of exercise has consistently shown in numerous studies to improve cardiovascular and respiratory health. This means that as a result, this type of exercise conditions the lungs to be able to use more oxygen while increasing your heart's efficiency by decreasing heart rate.
What's this mean to you?

By conditioning your body through aerobic exercise, it allows you to remain at rest with less effort. Yes it's true folks, some people work hard just to remain at rest. Imagine what would happen if they had to run to catch the bus? This would be a great stress for the untrained body and it's unfortunate, knowing the human potential.

Apart from allowing you to remain at rest with less effort by lowering your resting heart rate and increasing it's pumping power, you will of course be able to run faster and longer than you ever did. So maybe running faster and longer isn't something you strive for, that's fair enough. However you should know that by exercising at higher levels what you're also doing is making previously "hard" exercise seem easy.

Perhaps an even bigger motivator is that this kind of exercise has been shown to dramatically reduce your risk of heart disease; this country's number one killer. It does this by lowering cholesterol levels and decreasing blood pressure and lowering your heart rate.

One of the first signs of this phenomenon was observed scientifically in the 1950's in the UK. It was evident that bus ticket conductors had significantly lower incidence of heart disease compared to their sedentary coworkers, the bus drivers. What was the difference? The ticket inspectors had to walk up and down the bus' stairs to collect tickets while the bus drivers; well... they sat on their butt.

After conditioning this aerobic pathway through cardiovascular or aerobic exercise you will be able to more effectively burn fat. The harder you exercise aerobically; your body switches to burning more glycogen as its main fuel, from fat. Glycogen is stored carbohydrate and is limited in supply. As a result you become fatigued relatively early and are unlikely to continue.

However after regular aerobic exercise, your ability to burn fat even at higher workloads increases compared to when you were not training. Basically, the point at which your body switches from burning fat to glycogen will be raised. So through this type of exercise, you will be able to exercise harder with less effort and your main source of fuel will be stored bodyfat. That has to be great news, right?

In order to condition this cardiovascular pathway and reap its many benefits, we must increase our heart rate and keep it elevated for at least 25 minutes, 3 or more times per week. This is the recommendation given by the American College of Sport Medicine, a premier authority on the subject. A brisk walk or jog should be enough to gain the many health benefits. But as with every exercise program that is geared for results, improvements and personal bests we must practice PROGRESSION.

So if you want to improve your aerobic fitness you must NOT perform the same workout that you did today 5 months from now. The workout you perform in 5 months time has to be more intense or of longer duration compared to the one you do today. Always keep in mind that you body needs to be subjected to stresses that it has never witnessed before and be forced into adaptation. Too often I see people go to their gym with no goal in mind, no real purpose and inevitably this means no real results.

With aerobic exercise, much like resistance training you must do one of two things to improve and create personal bests. Over time, either perform the same workout intensity for longer and longer duration, OR keep the workout duration time the same and increase workout intensity. I'll give you an example.

If you're training at an intensity of 5 km/hr today for a period of 20 min, in time you should be able to perform the same intensity for a period of 40 min. Over time meaning maybe a period of six months or more depending on your age, goals etc. So this progression method allows you to keep the workload the same and progressively add extra time under the same intensity, effectively making your workout time longer. This is perhaps the easiest and safest progression method that I recommend for beginners to intermediates.

After mastering the above method, you can now try doing the workout in the same time frame every time you workout but at higher intensities in time. So, if you're doing 30 min at 10 km/hr today, in time you should get up to 15 km/hr in the same 30 minutes. So now you're doing more and more work in the same time period.

When using these two methods to foster improvement in your aerobic/cardio program you should keep in mind, especially you're a beginner that you should

1) Always give yourself a bit of a head start into any program. This means that if you normally push yourself to just complete 20 min on exercise like stepper or bike and are really tired at the end, it is unlikely that you can progress positively. Try cutting back the time or the intensity of the exercise before trying on a progression program and work up to your previous best. This will give you added recovery and added confidence for your next workouts so that you're able to break through and improve.

2) In general it is better to progress by the above two methods by increasing the intensity or the time completed very gradually over time. Always keep in mind that health fitness is and should be a long-term goal. There's always time to break your personal best. Better you hold back and enjoy the exercise routine and progress slowly as compared to constantly pushing it to your limits. Constantly pushing your limits does not even occur in elite athletes at the Australian Institute of Sport. Not only will you be better recovered but you'll also learn to associate fun and freedom with exercise. This should be your primary concern. (See Upcoming ARTICLE)

3) Always keep an exercise diary. This will ensure that you're on track and getting results by giving you feedback. But will also give you the satisfaction ok knowing that 6 months ago you could only run 2 kilometers while now you can easily run 5. Writing it down tells your mind that you're serious... and you are. Aren't you? (See Related Article)

Although a little exercise is always better than none, scientific studies done on large amount of people almost always find a correlation between exercise intensity and total kilojoules expended and positive health factors. By increasing your health fitness systematically, you not only teach your body to better itself but what you're also doing is burning more and more calories each time. This is seen in scientific studies, which show that when you exercise using a progression method, (such as the ones above) meaning that you're slowly but constantly improving your fitness, you'll also progressively reap more of the benefits that exercise has to offer.

It's consistently seen that as one systematically improves their health fitness, NOT merely going through the motions at the gym, they'll experience low and stable bodyfat levels, an enhanced cardiovascular profile, more energy and vitality. What's this mean to you?

It simply means RESULTS.

By using both methods you will be able to design your own program that even Lance Armstrong will be proud of. You'll be able to prevent disease while burning bodyfat but best of all is the fact you're constantly excelling yourself.

Stefan Angheli
Editor healthfitness.com.au

 
 
   
     
 

Aerobic or cardiovascular exercise has consistently shown in numerous studies to improve cardiovascular and respiratory health. This means that as a result, this type of exercise conditions the lungs to be able to use more oxygen while increasing your heart's efficiency by decreasing heart rate.
 
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Progression Methods to achieve RESULTS!



Keep the workload (intensity) the same and progressively add extra time under the same intensity, effectively making your workout time longer.

Keep workout time constant but you progressively increase the workload (intensity)

 
 
 
 
REFERENCE:
*· ABS Catalog 4805.0 National Nutrition Survey 1995
 
   

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