Let’s face it…. regardless of whether you’ve got one child, or a whole tribe of kids…. once they become mobile, you need to be on your toes and on the ready at all times! Not only are kids constantly on the go, go, go…. but there’s also that added risk that they could literally bolt (beyond your safe reach), at any time!!
Even when they’re older, their natural instinct is to run and play. As an actively engaged parent, you want to join inthat soccer game, jump rope with them,or go for a bike ride, right? Maybe you’re keen to simply keep up with them, or lead by example, in terms of living a happy, healthy and active life)?
If so, you’ll need to have a reasonably good level of cardiovascular fitness!
What is Cardiovascular Fitness?
Cardiovascular fitness refers to your ability to maintain aerobic exercise for prolonged periods of time.
To do this, your heart, lungs and vascular system need to efficiently deliver oxygen-rich blood to the muscles that are required during those sustained activities…. like that game of soccer or bike ride.
The thing to remember though…. is that unless you use it, you lose it! If you find yourself getting puffed (even from the most basic tasks, like hanging out the washing, walking up a flight of steps, or carting the shopping in from the car), then you could definitely benefit from doing some focussed cardiovascular exercise, in order to improve your fitness,
The awesome thing is, you don’t need to go to the gym (which can sometimes be a little intimidating), you don’t need to spend a heap of money, and best of all, you don’t even need to invest a great deal of time. You simply need to be consistent!!
Why Cardio Fitness Important?
In addition to allowing you to become even more physically and actively engaged with your kids, cardiovascular fitness also has a whole range of added health benefits!
- The fitter you are, the healthier your lungs, heart and vascular system will be.
- If you demonstrate high levels of cardiovascular fitness during exercise, the more efficient it will be during times of rest.
- This ultimately means that far less stress is being put on your heart and lungs around the clock, which enables you to avoid illness and live a longer, healthier life!!
Cardiovascular fitness also underpins the development of the other components of your overall fitness, including muscular endurance and strength, flexibility and mobility, and of course, your body composition.
How Do I Get Cardio Fit?
If it’s been a little while since you’ve done any form of exercise, your best strategy for long term success, is to ease into it slowly. The reason I recommend this approach to my clients is two-fold:
Firstly, if you go too hard, too fast, you’re likely going to end up in a whole world of pain…. not only from delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS), which can be a massive de-motivator, but also from mental burnout! Willpower is a finite resource…. and if you exhaust it, you’ll likely end up feeling that slight sense of failure, prompting you to throw in the towel altogether!
Secondly, by starting out soft and slow, you’re more likely going to establish strong and long lasting habits! Introducing new activities over timewill allow you to mindfully integrate them into your normal weekly routine, rather than becoming overwhelmed by a mountain of new ‘added extras’ that need to be fitted in, or ‘bolted on’ to your existing commitments.
Ease in by doing 15 – 20 minutes of moderately paced walking, swimming or bike riding. Something that the kids can do as well would be ideal! If you’re a little more advanced, try rowing or skipping or boxing…. but slowly build up over a month or so, from 2 or 3 times per week, up to 30 – 45 minutes, 4 or 5 times per week. Aim for the minimum recommended amount of 2.5 hours of moderate exercise each week and increase your level of intensity (effort), as you feel yourself becoming fitter.
What are the Other Benefits of Getting Cardio Fit?
Improving your cardiovascular fitness will reduce your risk of developing:
- High blood pressure,
- High cholesterol,
- High blood sugar,
- Cardiovascular disease,
- Type 2 diabetes.
It can also help you to manage a healthy weight, as well as reduce the risk of developing some cancers.
Quick bursts of exercise will also give you an instant energy boost (even though that sounds a little counter-intuitive), will improve your mood and mental health, and will also enhance your focus, concentration and memory!
With all these benefits of improved health, disease prevention, better daily functioning and performance, as well as living a longer life, it goes without saying, that your capacity to be a more actively engaged parent is greatly enhanced…. and that’s a bonus for both YOU, and your kids, wouldn’t you agree?
Still Need an Extra Boost?
If you really find it challenging to focus on developing your fitness and improving your health in general, I’ve got a whole collection of strategies and a range of online Programs to get you activated, elevated and completely accelerated!
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