There are a large number of benefits to participating in cardiovascular exercise -- including weight control, improved self-esteem and prevention of heart disease, stroke, diabetes, osteoarthritis and some cancers. Cardiovascular exercise is important for individuals of all age and activity levels. Whether you are currently working out or looking to increase your fitness regimen, you can. Even at the age of 54, you can raise your cardio routine.
1. Check with your doctor. After age 40, the National Academy of Sports Medicine recommends you consult your doctor prior to beginning any new exercise routine. A physical exam can help ensure you are healthy enough for physical activity.
2. Stretch and warm up. To reduce your risk of injury, participate in a five- to 10-minute warm-up prior to exercising. Walk, jump rope or use a treadmill. Follow up with gentle stretching. Perform calf raises, hamstring stretches, neck circles and shoulder shrugs.
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3. Select one or multiple cardiovascular exercises you enjoy. Consider jogging, brisk walking, aerobics or dancing. If you experience joint pain, consider a low-impact form of cardiovascular exercise. Low-impact exercise provides you with the same benefits as cardiovascular workout while placing little to no stress on your joints. Consider swimming, using a rowing machine or an elliptical machine, riding a bike, or walking on a treadmill.
4. Work your way up to your desired cardiovascular activity level. The National Academy of Sports Medicine recommends increasing your routine by 10 percent each week until you reach your desired activity level. For example, if you want to run one mile a day, start with one-tenth a mile and add a tenth each week until you reach your goal.
5. Follow the American College of Sports Medicine's exercise guidelines. With permission of your doctor, aim to participate in 30 minutes of cardiovascular exercise per day, five days per week.