Cardiovascular fitness tells us about the physical capacity of individual measures as the amount of oxygen capacity per kilogram of body weight over time. Improving cardiovascular fitness is proven helpful by reducing the risk of developing heart disease by increasing the work abilities of the heart, lungs, and blood vessels. If heart workability improves, it is easier for the heart to pump blood through a blood vessel and less taxing on one’s heart. The cardiovascular system is one the most important system of our body, main function of this system is to pump oxygenated blood to every organ of our body. Any problem with this system leading to deprivation of oxygen leading to ischemia. If the oxygen supply to brain tissues is blocked for few minutes it led to brain ischemia and death.
Cardiovascular fitness also knows as cardiorespiratory fitness. CRF measures how well one’s body takes in oxygen and supply this oxygen to other body organs during resting and exercise. If your cardiovascular fitness is low, you are at risk of developing heart disease, certain cancer, and high mortality rates. There is a strong link between cardiovascular disease fitness and one’s overall body health. During regular visits to clinics for health assessment, cardiovascular fitness tests are now an important part of health assessment. Because of these assessments, one knows about:
- The level of cardiovascular fitness is linked to heart failure risk and the likelihood of heart failure later in life
- Low cardiovascular fitness is a strong risk factor for stroke
- Before performing any kind of surgical treatment cardiorespiratory fitness is measured to intervene in many risks including surgical risks, mortality, and the ability to function after surgery.
Measure your fitness level:
If you want to know about your cardiovascular fitness, you can perform a test on your own to know about your fitness level. You can measure your fitness by 12 min run test. This test has been used in many settings such as military training. These are the four steps of 12 minutes run test:
- You must have a stopwatch or timer
- Warm-up your body before the test by running, walking, jogging
- Run at a normal speed as fast you can without causing any fatigue, for an entire 12 minutes.
- Take some rest after the test and measure the distance in miles you have covered in miles using a decimal figure
Before performing this test, a few things must be taken into consideration such as:
- You should be healthy, healthy means free from any cardiovascular disease such as coronary artery disease, a chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder, heart failure, and other related health issues
- Before performing this test, a stress test must be performed under medical supervision.
- If during the test you feel uncomfortable and fatigued, immediately seek medical help.
Other tests performed to check cardiovascular fitness are the cardiorespiratory endurance tests. Cardiorespiratory endurance is measured by maximum oxygen uptake by the body during any physical activity. A high intake of oxygen indicates that you are using more oxygen and your cardiorespiratory system is working properly. With the help of a qualified fitness instructor, you can perform submaximal tests t to check cardiorespiratory endurance.
If you are an athlete and physically fit you can perform a submaximal test to measure cardiovascular fitness by
- The astrand treadmill test.
- The 2.5 km run test.
- The multistage bleep test.
People living sedentary life can perform cooper 1.5-mile walk-run test.
All these tests that are performed tell you about your heart, the lung that how well these are working to provide oxygen during exercise
Exercises to improve cardiovascular fitness:
The exercises we are going to discuss below will help you to improve your cardiovascular fitness. To perform these exercises you don’t need any special equipment, so they can be done at any time and anywhere. If one does not have a large block of time, one can perform these exercises a few times per day. These exercises will help you to burn fat, develop muscle, and get your heart pumping. One of the most important instructions while doing these exercises is to breathe deeply. Try to do each exercise at least for a minute and you can also take a 30-second break in between each exercise. These require a special kind of endurance so one can increase the intensity and duration of exercise gradually.
Run and jump in place:
Each of these steps is performed for 30 seconds.
- Jog in place
- While jogging in place, lift up your knee as high as it can go
- Next start to bring your feet back and up as though you want to touch your butt.
- First, stand with your feet together and put your arm by your side
- Jump your feet parts as you raise your arms above your head
- Now jump back to your initial position and perform this exercise again
You can perform this exercise while a sitting and standing position.
1- To perform this start rotating your arms in a circle in both clockwise and anti-clockwise positions. The movement resembles a butterfly.
2- If a person is unable to rotate their arms completely, they can extend their arms to the sides and draw small circles.
Supine snow angle:
This exercise can be performed while in a supine position, which involves muscles of the abdominal, chest, and shoulder.
- Lie on the floor flat with your feet on the ground
- Place the lower back on the floor by tucking the pelvis slightly on the floor.
- Extend your arms at shoulder the in such a way as to bend your hands to reach your ears
- Now raise your hands slowly toward your head to meet each other
- Now lower your hand to starting position and repeat.
Other exercises that can be performed on daily basis such as
- Jump rope
- Organized sports
- Power walking
- Hula hooping