The heart is the most important muscle in the body. It keeps us alive and without it the body would not function. It helps deliver blood to the body, remove toxins, heal wounds, and provide numerous other benefits.
The heart can be trained, just like any other muscle. By engaging in cardiovascular exercise, a person can improve stroke volume, resting heart rate, and recovery heart rate, among other benefits. This, in turn, improves all aspects of health, exercise performance, and overall quality of life.
When we say cardiovascular exercise can improve heart function, we include traditional cardio as well as non-traditional cardio. Traditional cardio may include:
Non-traditional cardio may include:
Endurance type weight training (high volume, low rest)
Use of cardio devices such as rowers, Ski-ergs, and ellipticals
Hight intensity weight training
Essentially, almost any activity that accelerates the heart rate to an acceptable level and maintains it with enough duration can help heart health. The exact function of the heart improved will depend on the type of cardio performed.
Higher intensity work will enable the heart to work at the high level, while also increasing capacity for lower intensity work. Low-intensity work for the duration will increase the heart's ability to handle low-intensity work, but no necessarily higher intensity work.
Best case scenario is to engage in both longer duration cardio sessions and high-intensity cardio sessions, whether using traditional or non-traditional methods. A simple way to achieve this is to complete steady-state cardio during one session and interval training during another. For example, during one session you would complete your preferred cardio method at a single steady pace, for instance, running at 6 miles per hour for 30 minutes. During another session, you would alternate intensity, such as performing one minute at 6 miles per hour and the next at 10 miles per hour for 30 minutes.
The examples are only two options, and there are many different choices available. If you can't figure it out, find a good coach. Regardless of the approach used by the trainer, each coach looks at the goals and situational factors of the client to create a program that fits his or her needs. Knowing how to do this comes from education and experience. If you're not a trained coach, then the best approach for you is to work with a trainer or coach, or to find a free or purchase program from such as an individual or from sites such as demetzonlinepersonaltraining.com, catalystathletics.com, bodybuilding.com, halhigdon.com, trainheroic.com, or www.jtsstrength.com.