So I know I bang on a whole heap about lifting weights and how you should definitely be doing it for a whole host of reasons (you should be doing it).

I also harp on about how much I can’t and won’t run (I secretly wish I could but alas, my shins feel like they are about to explode out of the front of my legs if i dare so much as think about it).

But cardio is actually extremely beneficial for you and in particular for your heart health. I don’t know about you but I want my heart to be feeling tickety boo for as long as possible!

But exactly how much and what type should you be doing?

The recommended amount of exercise is 150 minutes of moderate intensity activity per week or 75 minutes of higher intensity. Plus at least 2 days per week of strength training. (See, you should be strength training).

When people think of cardio they often think they need to be on the floor in a pool of sweat, absolutely exhausted for it to count and this just isn’t true. Moderate intensity cardio can include:

  • ●  Brisk walking
  • ●  A bike ride
  • ●  Dancing
  • ●  Tennis
  • ●  Hiking
  • ●  Gardening, particularly pushing a lawn mower
  • ●  Playing football with the kids
  • ●  Swimming
  • ●  Cleaning (depending on the intensity)

So you are likely doing it in your everyday life, maybe without even realising and it’s all adding up! If you are unsure if you are going at enough intensity, you can do the talk test. If you were to have a conversation with someone on the phone whilst exercising, they should be able to tell you are exercising as you are a little out of breath but you should be able to maintain a conversation throughout. It is a level at which you can maintain the activity for a longer period of time. You could also check your fitness watch (if you have one) and try to remain in “zone two”. This is usually a good indicator of intensity.

So what counts as vigorous exercise? If you’re feeling like you want to up the intensity? Most moderate exercises can become vigorous if you increase the intensity. Whilst doing them you should be breathing hard and fast.

Examples include:

● ● ● ● ● ● ●

Riding a bike fast or on hills
Sports such as football, netball or hockey Skipping
Martial Arts

If you prefer going at a higher intensity, you usually work for less time and recovery usually takes longer too.

Above all, do what you enjoy the most and try to mix it up. If you dread it, your consistency is likely to be poor and this is the most important thing. So, find something you can stick with. Do it with friends or partners, get your kids involved and it won’t feel like such a chore. You are likely to feel much more fit and energised pretty quickly, helping to make everyday tasks feel a little easier.

Happy cardio’ing! Sarah x