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The Definition and Importance of Cardiorespiratory Endurance

written by: Caramel • edited by: Cheryl Gabbert • updated: 5/22/2011

This article gives information on cardiorespiratory as it relates to its definition, importance, health benefits, and also some effective cardio exercises. What is cardiorespiratory endurance anyway? Read on to find out!

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    Cardiorespiratory Endurance

    Cardiorespiratory endurance is defined as the ability of the body to carry out prolonged, large muscle, energetic exercise at moderate-to-high levels of strength. So if you are asking the question, "what is cardiorespiratory endurance?", it is also called aerobic endurance or aerobic fitness and is classified as the ability of the respiratory and circulatory systems to regulate and recover from the effects of dynamic activity such as swimming, biking, or running.

    Importance of Cardiorespiratory Endurance

    An improvement in cardiorespiratory endurance increases the ability of the lungs, heart, and muscles to perform work over a extensive period of time. A healthy diet coupled with physical activity will encourage life long disease prevention and other health benefits.

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    Frequency of Cardiorespiratory Endurance Exercise

    Improvements are made to cardiorespiratory endurance when exercise is done at least three days for a minimum time of 20 minutes. The intensity of the exercise should be within your heart rate zone and the formula for this calculation is as follows:

    To get the heart rate zone you subtract you age from 220, which looks like, 220-age=Maximum Heart Rate. If you were twenty years old, an example of this would be: 220-20=200. Therefore, a twenty year old would have a heart rate zone of 200.

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    Some Benefits of Cardiorespiratory Endurance Exercises

    1. An Improved Cardiorespiratory Function- Some of the greatest changes that happen as a result of cardiorespiratory endurance exercises is observed through an increase in blood pressure and cardiac output, and also skeletal muscles and blood flow. These changes aid in the body's ability to respond to the challenge of exercise. When exercise is performed on a consistent schedule, adaptations are formed in the cardiorespiratory system. Everyday tasks are performed more easily as a result of the adaptation which means that the body is getting more fit. Heart health is improved in the following ways:
      • By increasing or maintaining the heart’s own oxygen and blood flow
      • The heart pumps more blood per beat when there is an increase in the heart’s muscle function.
      • The heart’s contractions are strengthened.
      • In young adults there is an increase in the heart’s cavity size.
      • During each contraction more blood is pumped through the circulatory system from the heart as a result of increased blood volume.
      • Blood pressure is reduced.

    1. Improvements In Cellular Metabolism: Performing regular endurance exercise gives improvement to the metabolism and on the cellular level; it improves the body’s ability to use and produce energy more efficiently. Metabolism is improved in the following areas:
      • The number of capillaries in the muscles is increased. This supplies the body with more oxygen and allows waste to be eliminated more quickly.
      • The muscles are trained to make the most fuel and oxygen so that they can work more effectively.
      • The number and size of mitochondria are increased.
      • An increased ability of the muscles to use fats and lactic acids as fuels
      • May also protect the cells from chemical damage caused by free radicals

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    Cardiorespiratory Endurance Exercises

    The following are examples of important Cardiorespiratory Endurance Exercises:

    1. Running is one of the most effective exercises you can do and it burns a huge amount of calories, a 145 pound person can burn 300 calories with just 30 minutes of intense running.
    2. Cross country skiing is a great exercise and whether you are on the slopes or at the gym, you are sure to get a serious workout. A 145 pound person who performs this exercise for 30 minutes can burn 330 calories.
    3. Bicycling will also give you a great workout while using the power in your lungs to increase endurance and burn a lot of calories.
    4. Elliptical trainer exercises help build endurance while at the same time protecting your sore joints from high-impact activities.
    5. Swimming is a full body exercise and burns a lot of calories due to the number of muscles involved.
    6. Step aerobics is a tough cardio exercise that targets the butt and legs and burns about 400 calories in a 30 minute time-table.
    7. Rowing, when done correctly is a great cardio endurance exercise that also seriously works the arms
    8. Rock climbing is not for the faint of heart, but you can easily burn 380 calories in a 30 minutes. In rock climbing a lot of power and strength are used in the legs and arms.
    9. Walking can be a good cardio exercise if done in a brisk manner. 180 calories can be burned in 30 minutes.
    10. Handball gives a great cardio exercise given the side-by-side sprints that increase the heart rate and strengthens the legs.

    This article was to inform those who have ever asked the question what is cardiorespiratory endurance. It is important to note that whenever you start an exercise regime it is wise to start with a consult from your doctor. Some of the above exercises such as rock climbing should accompany appropriate tools, and safety must be the first priority.