Cardiorespiratory or cardiovascular fitness is the ability of your heart, lungs, and blood to effectively deliver oxygen to working muscles and their ability to extract that oxygen for use in the production of energy to power the working muscles during continuous exercise. The regular engagement of cardiorespiratory training is associated with reducing the risk of developing the leading chronic diseases of heart disease, cancer, type 2 diabetes, stoke, and other harmful diseases.
In addition to risk reduction for these diseases, cardiorespiratory training is associated with improving heart and lung functioning toward feeling better and an overall enhanced health and well-being. It has also been shown to be helpful in healing a variety of musculoskeletal injuries and conditions. As such, cardiorespiratory training is usually incorporated into most physical therapy treatment regimens to aid in the healing of damaged tissues.
The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) provides guidelines for cardiorespiratory exercise recommending that individuals engage in:
- Moderate-intensity cardiorespiratory exercise for ≥ 30 minutes per day, 5 days a week for a total of ≥ 150 minutes per week, or
- Vigorous-intensity cardiorespiratory exercise training for ≥ 20 minutes per day, 3 days a week for a total of ≥ 75 minutes per week
Click HERE to view the ACSM’s “Quantity and Quality of Exercise for Developing and Maintaining Cardiorespiratory, Musculoskeletal, and Neuromotor Fitness in Apparently Healthy Adults”.
Cardiorespiratory training can take many forms, including:
- Walking, jogging, running, or hiking
- Stair-climbing or elliptical machine
- Cross country skiing
- Sports (soccer, basketball, tennis, squash, etc.)
Common Machines used for developing cardiorespiratory fitness include:
- Pedal Exercisers
- Recumbent Bikes
- Row Machines
- Upright Stationary Bikes
- Stair & Stepper Machines
Upper Body Exercisers/Ergometers