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LuckyFit: Cardio Introduction

Filed Under: Exercise and Fitness at 3:02 pm | By: Sean Wolf, Contributing Fitness Author
JoggersThe CDC or Center for Disease Control and Prevention recommends Adults get at least  150 minutes a week of moderate-intensity (i.e., brisk walk)  aerobic activity every week or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity (i.e., jogging or running) every week. They also recommend weight training on 2 or more days a week that work all major muscles groups (legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders, and arms.)

Start with 25 minutes of cardio 5 days a week. You do not have to aim for the stars right away. Your goal will be to work up to recommended guidelines and then eventually surpass them. Each consecutive week, increase your time of cardio by 5 minutes a day, aiming to a total of up to 40-50 minutes.  Your cardio should make you break a sweat and increase your heart rate, but not make you feel out of breath.  A little trick that I like to use is:  if you cannot hold a conversation with a friend (or person next to you on the cardio machine) then you are going too fast. What does this mean? You should be able to talk the whole time comfortably while doing your cardio; you do not want to be gasping for air in the middle of each sentence, or after each word. Remember you burn fat when oxygen is present, if you’re having a hard time talking, then oxygen is not present.

Why do we want oxygen present? Remember we are doing Aerobics exercising. Aerobics means ‘with oxygen’ which means that oxygen is used in the process. Aerobic exercises are low intensity exercises which will burn fat over a period of time, i.e. walking.

I recommend starting off with a brisk walk. Walking is a great Aerobic exercise and keeps your heart rate at the correct level, but allows you to push yourself.  Your walking can be either outdoors or on a treadmill.  For outdoor walking, try and find a place that is somewhat level, with few hills. Hills are not bad though, as they will help to increase your heart rate and make you work harder. This does not mean you should go and walk up Mount Rushmore, but do not be scared of the hills in your neighborhood. Treadmills are not bad especially during the winter or on rainy days. They keep you at a constant pace, and most machines these days allow you the ability to control your incline. The most important fact to remember when walking on a treadmill is that you are NOT allowed to hold on, it’s cheating! Use your arms when walking. When starting out, keep your pace around 2.5 to 3.0 mph with an incline around 3.0 to 5.0 percent until you are comfortable to increase your speed. As you become more comfortable walking, start to increase your incline. Push yourself, but remember the key is not to hold on.

Remember you do not have to accomplish your 150 minutes at one time. Break it up through the week. Just make sure you are enjoying your start to a healthier you!

About LuckyFit: LuckyFit is LuckyBlog’s special section featuring fitness and training topics for overall health and physical fitness. LuckyFit blogs feature specialized workouts and health tips to help you achieve your fitness goals. LuckyFit exercises are designed by our certified Exercise Science staff journalists with several years of training and fitness education. These tips and routines are designed for people in good health; remember to always consult with your physician before participating in any physical activities.

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4 Responses to “LuckyFit: Cardio Introduction”

  1. Marissa says:

    Hi LuckyFit,

    No matter how often I work out I still have trouble breathing when I increase my pace and would most certainly not be able to hold a conversation. Does this mean that I simply can’t run at high paces? that I am not in good enough shape? Or could I have asthma?

    Out of Breath Marissa

  2. Sean says:

    I would need to know more about your goals and what you are training for so that I know truly how to answer your question.
    The holding your conversation should only be done when your goal is to keep your heart down. This is only done for when your goal is Long Slow Distance training. Being able to hold a conversation is for those targeting a lower heart rate, in hopes to keep oxygen present for burning fat while being able to perform a longer duration of cardio. Increasing your pace, will indeed cause you to become out of breath! The quicker the pace, the more your body needs to work. I would recommend you slow your pace down and increase your incline. Keeping your pace slower, and incline higher will still give you a the really tough workout that your are looking for, while helping you build up your VO2 endurance.

    You can also try a supplement that will enhance your oxygen utilization. I recommend The First Endurance Opytgen Product. You can also see some other products by visiting and searching oxygen.

  3. Dr Al Sears says:

    A lot of people are coming around to the idea that not only does long-duration cardio training not work, it’s dangerous. But while I give them credit for catching on, they’re not getting it quite right.

    In fact, one of the most popular doctors on the Internet is also not recommending long-duration cardio any more like he used to. He’s come up with his own exercise regimen. I admire him for trying, but there are serious problems with his new program, and there are a few things I do differently.- Dr Al Sears MD

  4. Joseph says:

    Instead of focusing on a speed. Wouldn’t it be best to focus on a target heart rate zone for cardio training? A heart rate monitor would certainly help Marissa figure out what speeds she should be running at. The method of seeing if you can “hold a conversation” is kind of dated. A HRM can be had for $20 and some really nice ones for under $100. I really don’t know anyone who trains cardio without one now days. Even most equipment at gyms have them. It takes the guess work out of it and keeps people from over or under training.

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