Thursday, 5 January 2017

Why Cardio Is Key

Good Morning and Happy New Year Everyone!

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and New Year, and are feeling more rested than wrecked now you're heading back to reality! I've literally just arrived back from Miami, the holiday of the year so for me it really is back to reality with a big old bump!







If, like many, your new years resolution is something to do with fitness, going to the gym, losing weight, changing your body shape or improving your fitness I just wanted to give you a little piece of advice - CARDIO! This advice was verified by an Olympian, and if 2017 is going to be your best year yet, why not take the advice of an Olympic medallist?

Cardio often has a bad reputation among most of us. It's that annoying thing that we, more often than not, don't enjoy and try to avoid wherever possible. The number one line I always hear from clients is 'i'll do anything.... except cardio'.
I disagree, for me embracing cardio is key. Sprints really were the one thing that gave me the most defined stomach of my life, as well as the fact that I can now hit speed 20 on the treadmill without breaking too much of a sweat. It really looks and feels nice to be fit. There's no use in making your body look fab from the outside... but you can't even run for a bus without breaking down and wheezing like you're about to have a heart attack. Fitness is important, you really only have one body, one heart, one pair of lungs. Look after them, make sure you look great on the inside and the outside in 2017.

This realisation for me was confirmed after I did a really interesting project with Yakult and Loughborough University back in December, Yakult and Loughborough University joined up with Olympic swimmer Jazz Carlin and gave a select few of us a chance to 'Swim With Jazz' (key word with, not against, thank god).

During this project I was taxi'd over to the Chelsea Harbour Hotel (my fave in London by the way - go visit), I put on my best Speedo, was wired up with a heart monitor, and set certain swimming strokes and challenges to achieve. After these strokes the heart monitor would determine how long it took for my heart rate to go back to my resting heart rate, eventually to determine my 'Swimming Age'.

Speedo ready before my challenge


I do cardio about 4 times a week, usually just 30 mins sprints on the treadmill, but I frequently go for long walks too. This I believe, really helped me during this task. The team were surprised by how quickly my heart rate returned back to normal after each stroke, and my set of challenges were over and done with in record timing. However, had I done this challenge two years ago, when I wasn't so fond of cardio, I really do believe the results (shown below) would be very different.




 As you can see with the results, It took me up until the 4th task, which included holding my breath under water, for the swimming to have a real impact on my heart rate. My average heart rate started at around 72-84 BPM, but spiked at 131 BPM on the most difficult challenge. With increasing distance, and holding my breath, I suppose the spike in heart rate was to be expected. However, overall, as a 27 year old, my swimming age came out in the 19-23 year old bracket, as a 21 year swimming age. I put this 6 year health saving down to my cardio routine if i'm honest, and only reinforces my love for keeping fit!

If I were to do this again, I would love to get that age down even further... so for the time being, you'll find me on the treadmill, training like the fake Olympian I aim to be :)

Ciara

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