Category Archives: Strength and Endurance

Exercises to Increase Cardiovascular Health

Exercising is important to every human being and it should be done on regular basis to help keep you fit and healthy.   We recommend at least thirty minutes of exercise per day for five days a week.  Keep your body and muscles guessing by changing the exercises (type, duration and intensity) from time to time for better results.

Swimming is a great exercise for muscle development and cardiovascular health.  Find a swimming coach to help you practice and perfect your swimming skills. There are a number of swim strokes to learn but Butterfly is recommended for the increase of cardiovascular health. The Butterfly consumes a lot of energy compared to other strokes but you can’t go wrong by learning each one and practicing it daily.

Walking & Running 
Walking burns less calories compared to other forms of exercising but it’s one exercise that can be done at any time of the day.  Make walking fun by going on a walk with your dog in a park.  Also, consider skipping the car and take a walk through your town or city.  Running is the natural progression to walking and it can be done in the morning hours before you can start your day.

Cycling can also improve your cardiovascular fitness. According to research riding a bicycle in speeds of ten miles per hour would burn calories as much as when you would walk 3.5 miles  per hour. Riding above ten miles per hour increases the heartbeat and muscles of your body and it demands much more oxygen and energy.

Individual & Team Sports
Finally, consider competitive individual or team sports like hockey, badminton, handball, tennis, basketball, cross-country, skiing, water polo and boxing to help with your cardivascular health. Remember to incorporate continuous movement and engage the upper and lower body. Try not to take many breaks or stand around between sets because the higher the intensity, the greater the workout results.

Climbing is a good cardio workout. People can form groups within their communities, schools or clubs.  Training partners and personal trainers will help with encouragement & motivation.  Climbing also assists in muscle building because it’s a full body workout with even your feet, legs and hands becoming involved.

These types of exercise benefit your muscle development & health of your cardiovascular system.  Keep in mind that you should take it slow initially, especially if you haven’t worked out for a while or are in poor physical health.  Stay committed and focused and have health goals, too. Do all it takes, it is worth it at the end.

Fitness and Health

Muscular Strength Testing

Many studies have shown that maintaining or increasing muscular strength and endurance throughout the lifespan is important for preventing disease, maintaining health and preserving the ability to perform normal life activities.

Muscular strength is defined as the maximal force that can be generated by a specific muscle or muscle group during a single movement (ACSM 2005b; Heyward 2002; Howley & Franks 2003). The force generated is specific to the muscles involved, as well as the type (e.g., isometric or isotonic, concentric or eccentric), speed and joint angle of the contraction (ACSM 2005b). The muscular strength test results are usually expressed in terms of the amount of weight lifted during the test. The muscular strength test that will be discussed in this section is the one-repetition maximum (1RM). Other strength tests include handgrip dynamometer (isometric) and isokinetic testing.

1RM Testing. The 1RM is the heaviest weight that can be lifted one time while maintaining good form. This type of maximal strength testing is considered the gold standard for evaluating dynamic strength (ACSM 2005b). Because this type of testing involves the use of isotonic or dynamic muscular contractions, it translates well to real-life situations, as well as exercise performance.

Any exercise can be used to determine a 1RM. The procedures are as follows (ACSM 2005b; Heyward 2002; Howley & Franks 2003):

1. After a period of familiarization with the movement, have the client perform a light warm-up of 5–10 reps at 40%– 60% of his or her perceived maximum resistance (light to moderate exertion).

2. After a 1-minute (min) rest with light stretching, cue the client to perform 3–5 reps at 60%–80% of perceived maximum resistance (moderate to heavy exertion).

3. Add 5–10 pounds (lb). If the client is successful at lifting that weight, allow a rest period of 3–5 min and add another 5–10 lb. Continue this process until a failed attempt occurs. Record the last successfully completed lift as the 1RM.

4. Express the results relative to the client’s body weight (dividing the 1RM by the client’s weight).

The goal is to find the 1RM within a maximum of five attempts. A good familiarization period and clear communication between you and the client are key to an accurate and timely result.

Is 1RM testing safe for everyone? Research has demonstrated that if appropriate procedures are followed, this test is safe for all ages and even for individuals with various clinical conditions, such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, obesity and pulmonary disease (Heyward 2002). However, many professionals in the fitness or rehabilitation setting do not use the 1RM test to a great extent, preferring to be cautious with clients who have pre-existing conditions. With these clients, using one of the prediction equations, which employ a much lower resistance, is a very helpful alternative. For a list of 1RM prediction equations, see check