The Hippo


May 24, 2020








Crystal Reynolds

Run! Spin! Step!
All about cardio

By Matt Ingersoll

Crystal Reynolds of Concord is the owner and operator of 43 Degrees North Athletic Club, a new locally owned health club that is set to open later this month in Concord. Reynolds previously owned her own fitness studio in Concord and was a science teacher for 17 years, teaching anatomy and physiology and biomechanics. 

What are examples of cardio exercises or techniques?
Cardio is ... typically performed to increase your cardiovascular endurance, so anything from treadmills and ellipticals to indoor cycling bikes and spin bikes.
Why might you choose cardio exercise over another type?
First, it would have to do with what your overall goal is, whether it’s long-distance race or sprint training, or rehabbing. That factors into it, as well as your age, overall fitness level and whether you have any pre-existing injuries. Before I give any fitness advice, I like to sort of find out what your history is and what you’re trying to achieve.
What is better; high-intensity cardio activity for a short period of time, or low intensity for longer periods of time?
That varies too. People might be training for a specific sport and working on their agility, or are also playing intramural sports. For someone who is doing long-distance running, for example, they may have shorter runs spread out throughout the week.
How much cardio exercise is enough or too much?
The American Heart Association’s recommendation for an overall healthy individual is 30 minutes a day, five days a week. But it’s really important that you check with your doctor to find out what a good baseline would be for you individually. There are a lot of other standard guidelines people can go by that are loosely based on one’s age that say how much time, and frequency and intensity per week [is ideal].
Do eating habits affect your cardio exercise recommendations?
The recommendation for food in general is just that you need to think of fueling your body for what you want it to do. The one specific thing I would say is that you need to make sure you have adequate hydration throughout the day.
How do you calculate your own target heart rate?
The best way to determine your target heart rate is to conduct a max heart rate test, and there are a couple of different ways to do that. I like to recommend my clients work with a certified trainer to calculate it using a heart rate monitor and a telemetry strap, which wraps around your wrist like a watch. There is also an antiquated method out there called the Karvonen method that is based on your age and resting heart rate. It gives you a general sense but otherwise is not as accurate.
Besides weight loss, what are the other health benefits of consistent cardio exercise?
Some other benefits would be stress reduction, increased strength of the heart and lungs, and helping to increase the consistency of your sleep patterns. Basically aerobic or cardio activity is universally agreed as having benefits to it, by sports trainers, doctors and other exercise specialists.
What is the best time of day for cardio exercise?
In my experience, I have noticed that people have predictable patterns of behavior, so some people are just morning people and others are ready to go at 4 p.m. But I don’t think there’s a specific time during the day that would benefit people more than another. Again, it goes back to personal preference and what your own goals are.
— Matt Ingersoll 

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