Cardiovascular Endurance

By Virginia Halpin, PTA

What is Cardiovascular Endurance?

Cardiovascular endurance or aerobic exercise is how well you can perform moderate to high intensity exercises or movement for an extended period of time. This is determined by how well your heart and lungs deliver oxygen to the body and working muscles. As your heart rate increases, your blood pumps faster thus improving the ability to deliver oxygen to the body.

By performing aerobic exercise for at least 30 minutes per day, 3 to 7 days per week, you can help build cardiovascular endurance.

Man running in a hoodie outside for cardiovascular endurance. JOI Rehab

Man running for cardiovascular endurance

Benefits of Cardiovascular Endurance

In addition to improving heart and lung health, cardiovascular endurance has many perks and improves how you function as a whole. These benefits may include:

  • Lower blood pressure and control cholesterol levels
  • Regulate blood sugar
  • Aid in weight loss – when combined with a healthy diet
  • Strengthen ligaments, tendons, and bones
  • Improve sleep
  • Strengthen the immune system
  • Lower resting heart rate
  • Improve mood

Almost everyone can benefit from exercise. When initiating an exercise schedule, it is best to start simple and with something you enjoy. Whether that be walking around your neighborhood or going for a bike ride, starting with something you *enjoy* will help with continuing your routine. Another benefit of cardiovascular exercise is that you don’t need a gym membership or workout equipment at home. In fact, there are a lot of little or “no space” exercises that you can perform in your own living room.

Can I Workout with No Money?

If you are looking to get out of the house without paying the cost of a gym membership, consider these options:

Talk with your employer about free gym memberships or discounts at local gyms.

Check with your insurance company as they may provide compensation or reimbursement for gym fees.

Browse online to find free workouts that you can stream to your phone, computer, or television.

Examples of Aerobic Exercises to Improve Cardiovascular Endurance

While there are plenty of aerobic exercises to perform in order to build cardiovascular endurance, the ones listed below are the most popular:

  • Walking
  • Jogging
  • Running
  • Hiking
  • Swimming
  • Dancing
  • Stair Climbing
  • Boxing
  • Rowing

5 Beginner Cardiovascular Exercises

When first starting aerobic exercises, it is important to remember to start small. Perform exercises or activities for thirty seconds and then take a one-minute break. Remember to take deep breaths throughout and stretch before and after the activity. If you’re not quite sure where to start, consider these five exercises:

1. High Knees

Stand with your feet hip-width apart. Lift up your right knee to your chest.

Switch legs and bring your left knee to your chest.

Continue the movement, alternating legs and pumping arms alongside your ribcage.

Man doing a high knee cardiovascular exercise. JOI Rehab

High Knee Exercise

2. Butt Kicks

Stand with your feet hip-width apart. Lift your right heel until it touches the right glute.

Switch legs and bring your left heel to your left glute.

Continue the movement, alternating legs and pumping your arms in sync with the opposite leg.

Illustration of a female doing butt kicks for cardiovascular endurance. JOI Rehab

Female doing Butt Kicks

3. Lateral Shuffles

Stand with feet hip distance apart and slightly bend your knees.

Start with your right foot moving right and the left foot following.

Shuffle right for four right-left steps, then change directions and shuffle left for four left-right steps.

Be sure to engage your core and keep your chest lifted the entire time.

Illustration of a famale doing side shuffles for cardiovascular endurance. JOI Rehab

Illustration of a female doing side shuffles

4. Jumping Jacks

Start standing tall with your legs together and hands resting on your thighs.

Open your arms above the head and bring legs wider than the shoulders.

Close your arms and legs back to your sides, returning to the starting position.

Illustration of a man doing jumping jacks for cardiovascular endurance. JOI Rehab

Illustration of a man doing jumping jacks

5. Toe Taps

Stand in front of a box or other stable platform, like stairs.

Bring your right foot and tap it on the platform. Then, return your right foot to the floor and repeat with the left foot.

Alternate sides while keeping one foot in contact with the ground at all times.

Woman in Blue doing a toe tap exercise for cardiovascular endurance. JOI Rehab

Woman performing a toe tap exercise

Written By: Virginia Halpin, PTA

A great way to avoid injuries while working out is to start with a great warm up routine, Watch this video from JOI and JOI Rehab for Dynamic Warmup Exercises to start building your cardio endurance now.

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