Cardiorespiratory capacity is the power of your body to take air (respiration), deliver it to the skin cells (blood flow), and put it to use at the mobile level to set-up energy (bioenergetics) for physical work (activity). In fitness, we also refer to cardiorespiratory capacity as aerobic capacity. This capacity includes aerobic endurance (how long), aerobic strength (how hard), and aerobic power (how fast). A number of the long-term adaptations of cardiorespiratory training are: lowered resting heartrate, decreased threat of cardiovascular disease, increased endurance, increased heart stroke volume level and cardiac output.
Aerobic Activity What is it? Aerobic (or endurance) exercise uses your large muscle groups (chest, legs, and back) to increase your heart rate and breathing. You can speak several words in a row but not have a long chat while exercising.
What are the benefits? Stay active as you age. What can I do? Go for a brisk walk. Do heavy housework or gardening. Look into a water aerobics or tennis class for seniors. You may find free or discounted classes at a local community or senior center. How often? Aim to spread at least 150 minutes of moderately intense activity throughout the week. Reach your 150-minute goal by exercising at least 10 minutes at a time.
Activity to Strengthen Muscles What is it? This activity strengthens your muscles by making you push or pull against something, such as gravity, hand-held weights, exercise bands, or even soup cans.
What are the benefits? Increase your strength and independence. Reduce your need for a cane. Improve your balance at the same time.
What can I do? Raise and lower arms and legs for a number of counts. You can even do this while seated. Climb stairs in your house or at a mall if you can do so safely. Use your cane if needed. Dig in the garden, rake, and push a lawn mower.
How often? Aim for at least 2 days a week. Activity to Improve Balance What is it? Balance activity requires you to keep control of your body as you move. It may help strengthen muscles in your abdomen (stomach area), lower back, hips, and legs.
What are the benefits? Stay steady on your feet. Reduce the risk of a fall or injury. Improve your strength at the same time.
What can I do? Try walking heel to toe in a straight line. Practice standing on one foot. Stand up from a chair and sit down again without using your hands. How often? Aim for 3 or more days a week. Activity to Increase Flexibility What is it? Flexibility activity improves your range of motion.
What are the benefits? Keep the full range of motion of your muscles and joints. Prevent stiffness as you age. Lower your stress. What can I do? Stretch all muscle groups. Take a yoga class or practice yoga with a video. How often? Aim for 3 or more days a week.