ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

How to Start an Exercise Routine - Starting With Cardio

Updated on October 2, 2019
Ian Mundell profile image

Ian started working out at age 40 and has since learned a lot about motivation, success, and developing a fitness routine.

For many men and women, turning 40 is a significant milestone, and especially in terms of health. If you've fallen out of the habit of getting regular checkups, reaching their 40th birthday is often a milestone that causes people to think they should visit a doctor.

That can lead to revelations about your health, even if you feel fine and look healthy to all outside appearances. Many health problems don't show visible signs until it's too late, including:

  • high blood pressure
  • high cholesterol

There are other more serious health issues that can only be detected by a doctor, but I've listed two that are both common and can be mitigated by an exercise routine.

In this article we'll look at starting with a cardio workout.

What is Cardio?

Cardio is short for cardiovascular. The term cardiovascular, in turn, just means anything related to your heart and blood vessels. That's why it's so important; the heart has to keep working for your whole life, and if it gets diseased then that's a problem.

A cardio workout is one which raises your heart rate. You can expect to breath more heavily as a side effect, but the heart rate is the key.

Why is it so Important?

Your heart is a muscle. Like any muscle, exercising it means you'll have a strong heart. Just like lifting weights will develop stronger arm and chest muscles, engaging in cardiovascular exercise will make your heart stronger.

We know why that's so critical; if your arms are injured, it's inconvenient but you can manage it. You may need a cast if you break your arm, or if you just get sore or tear a muscle then you might just need to rest and take it easy for a few days.

But the heart can't stop working; it has to keep going.

Different Forms of Cardio Exercise

There are a number of different forms of cardio. Some of them can be more strenuous on your joints (especially your knees), but all of these will have the effect of raising your heart rate temporarily.

  • Walking
  • Running or jogging (outdoors or treadmill)
  • Swimming
  • Jumping rope
  • Cycling
  • Elliptical machine
  • Rowing machine
  • Stair climbing

Watch Your Heart Rate

Before starting a workout routine, you should always check with a doctor and ask about any specific restrictions or cautions particular to your situation.

Once you're in the gym, however, if you haven't been given specific guidance then you need to know how to gauge if you're straining yourself. Most cardio machines, including treadmills, bikes, and ellipticals, have heart rate monitors built in. But how do you know if you're working out too hard?

Maximum and Target Heart Rates

There's a simple equation to find out your maximum heart rate. Simply calculate (220 - your age) to get your maximum heart rate. For a 40 year old, that comes out to 180.

But don't exercise up to that rate! That's way too high for someone just starting out, and even for someone who's in really good shape.

Starting out, target 50% of your maximum heart rate - for a 40 year old, that's 90. Try it for a while, and once you feel comfortable you can start to increase up to 70% or 75% of your maximum heart rate.

The Rule of Thumb - Can You Talk?

The simplest way to know if you're working out too hard is to try talking out loud for a few seconds. If you can't hold a short conversation, you're probably pushing yourself too hard and you need to ease off the pace.

Start With Cardio - Add Weights Later

Adding a weights routine to your workout has a lot of benefits, and I recommend you give it serious consideration. But for the first several weeks of your new workout routine, stick to cardio only. Here's why.

  • It's difficult to do properly - you're much more likely to hurt yourself if you don't know what you're doing.
  • More strain on the heart - lifting weights can be a big strain. Cardio is easier to ramp up and ramp down, meaning your heart has more time to adjust.
  • Moving between different exercise types means more likely to hurt yourself - if you're varying between cardio and weights, even if you do both exercise types properly, you're still more likely to damage your body.

When first starting out, stick with cardio and get used to how your body reacts as you begin working out.

The One Type of Cardio You Should Avoid

All forms of cardio exercise are not the same. Running, for instance, can be hard on the knees, and if you are overweight that strain is magnified. It also places a hard strain on your heart.

But there's one very trendy form of cardio workout you must avoid when starting out, especially if you're 40 or older.

High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)

This has boomed in popularity in recent years, and some people swear by it. It's often promoted as the single best way to build a healthy body and lose weight.

What is HIIT?

There are two key parts to HIIT:

  • High Intensity - HIIT emphasizes short bursts of extremely vigorous or intense exercise, such as full out sprinting.
  • Interval - These bursts of intensity are then interspersed with short rests.

Why You Should Avoid HIIT

For someone just starting a workout routine, HIIT is very dangerous. It's very important to start out gradually, especially if you're over 40. Going from a very sedentary lifestyle to a concentrated exercise routine places an enormous strain on your heart.

Not only that, but the combination of bursts of exercise followed by short rests can significantly exacerbate the stress. Forcing your heart to repeatedly switch between working hard and easing down is a harsh exercise, and your heart may not respond well.

Don't get caught by the extravagant promises and hype; stick with a routine that is more controlled and easier on your heart.

Do it Right - Start Slow

The best way to ensure you'll keep up with a workout routine is to start slow and make sure you don't hurt yourself. It may take a while, but don't rush yourself. Be safe, look after yourself, and remember you don't need to compete with anyone - you're doing this for YOU!

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://maven.io/company/pages/privacy

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)