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There’s no shortage of tips on how to build strength and cardiovascular endurance. But someone recently inquired about building cardiovascular health for healthy individuals that just have a tough time catching their breath.
This question had me wondering if healthy people could have poor cardio health. Than I remembered, loads of people breathe improperly. Through their chest instead of their diaphragm-abdomen should rise on inhale not chest.
Why does this happen? Lots of reasons; lack of body awareness, stress, anxiety. With increased oxygen our body’s are able to function more efficiently. It even helps us to think more clear.
Benefits of Proper Breathing
Proper breathing habits can have many positive effects on our health and well-being. Some of the most crucial ones being:
Balancing our nervous system (Brain & spinal Chord) – The breath is very important in maintaining a balanced body because each breath has an immediate effect on the nervous system. Good breathing habits, like a long and relaxed one, result in a more relaxed body with much lower stress levels.
Airways open up– Making it easier for the air to make its way to and from the lungs. This allows us to breathe slower and work less.
Blood vessels open up– Which can lead to lower blood pressure and in turn makes the heart work less.
More energy is produced – Proper breathing increases the body’s ability to deliver oxygen to the cells. Optimizing our cells to do what they do best; keep us alive and healthy as opposed to the damaging even fatal effects of continually being in fight or flight mode.
Every single process in our body’s require oxygen. Some more than others:
- The brain – Uses 20% of the oxygen we consume. If there’s a shortage of oxygen the brain will work slower (that’s never good) and since the brain regulates a lot of other functions in the body these are also affected.
- The heart – Constantly active and beating about 100.000 times in a single day the heart is a huge consumer of oxygen, ensuring sufficient supply means the heart can pump out blood more effectively. Improving circulation which also helps prevent pain and disease (that’s always good:).
- The muscles – Sufficient Oxygen also has a positive effect on stamina, as the muscles are more relaxed they don’t tire as quickly.
Yoga even has a special area dedicated to breathing, it’s called pranayama.
For some breathing exercises with visualization techniques, here’s a really good article http://bit.ly/1Ty8qsa. If you’d just like some cool, quick, exercises with pictures, go here http://bit.ly/19XSGep.
If you’re healthy and breathing properly then we can finally answer the initial question about which exercises are best to build better cardio.
- I would definitely have to say you should probably start by walking, preferably uphill or on an incline as this requires more effort thus more oxygen than jogging or you could just go jogging.
- Personally I’m partial to swimming because it’s fun and easy on your joints.
- Of course riding your bike around the beach or a colorful, lush neighborhood in Southern California is a close second
In my opinion these are all good ones to start with because you can pace yourself and all are enjoyable, even walking can improve your mood.
- Check with your health-care provider before beginning an exercise program for the first time or if you have been away from fitness programs for a while, or if you have any chronic health issues.
- You can build cardiovascular stamina fairly quickly; but if you have not exercised for awhile, start by taking short, brisk walks. A 15 minute fast walk every day/night for a week will get you used to the effort it requires to perform aerobic exercise. It’s better to ease into a workout program than quit because it’s too much for you at the beginning.
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