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Exercise Tip: Cardiovascular Exercise Strategies

What NOT to do when doing Cardiovascular Exercise

When starting an exercise program, especially with the goal of weight loss in mind, many people make the mistake of trying to do too much, too soon. This can lead to stress injuries, exhaustion, and an unsustainable pace.

Best practices

You’re much better off starting gently, doing a little at a time, and building up your capacity over time. Your heart muscle is strong, and can quickly gain capacity when you ease into a sustainable routine. The need to find a suitable routine is part of having a healthy lifestyle. Achieving will really be such a challenging task but it will surely be worth it in the end.

The American College of Sports Medicine offers these helpful strategies for starting a cardiovascular exercise program:

1. Engage in activity that puts minimal stress on the joints, such as walking, swimming or water exercises, and cycling.

2. Ease into your workout. Start slowly for the first five minutes to give your body time to adjust to the activity.

3. Work at a comfortable pace that allows you to talk without too much difficulty.

4. Focus on increasing duration first, then increasing intensity.

5. Slow down for the last five minutes to allow your body to ease back into its resting state.

6. Finish with stretching exercises.

As you build your heart’s capacity gradually over time, you may find that you enjoy your exercise sessions more and more, as they get easier and easier. As your body composition noticeably changes, releasing excess body fat and releasing positive endorphins, cardiovascular exercise may very well become your favorite activity!

Lauren Archer Lauren Archer directs our Mindfulness Program. With over 25 years in private practice, Lauren is the author of Six Word Lessons on Changing Habits: How to Stop Self-Sabotage and Gain Self-Mastery. She has taught classes in the Community Health Education program at Evergreen Health, and helped thousands of people adopt healthier habits.

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