According to the President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports, cardiorespiratory endurance is defined as the body’s ability to deliver oxygen and other nutrients to tissue and to remove waste products over a sustained period of time. Improving cardiorespiratory endurance through aerobic exercise can help reduce the risk of heart disease, some types of cancer and can aid in weight control and weight maintenance. Walking, swimming, cycling and running are examples of exercises that can improve cardiorespiratory endurance.
Walking is an easy aerobic activity for most people to do. It is free, and can be done indoors or outdoors at any time. In a publication called “Walking Works,” the President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports reports that regular, brisk walking can decrease your risk of type 2 diabetes, improve muscle tone and improve overall sense of well-being. The President’s Council also recommends using comfortable shoes, drinking plenty of water and maintaining a brisk pace while walking.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or CDC, reports that swimming is the third most popular sports activity in the United States. According to the CDC, some people report that they can exercise for longer in water without joint or muscle pain and enjoying exercising in water more than on land. Also, a 2010 study published in “Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise” found that water exercise programs improved the quality of life of individuals with osteoarthritis.
According to the “New York City Bicycle Master Plan,” cycling is an environmentally friendly way of traveling and is among the top three ways to improve cardiorespiratory fitness. Cycling is a non-weight-bearing activity that can be a low-risk activity if proper safety precautions are taken. The American College of Sports Medicine, or ACSM, recommends always wearing a helmet and following the rules of the road when cycling outdoors.
Running, jogging and sports that require continuous running can improve cardiorespiratory endurance. The ACSM states that running can be more strenuous than walking and can put more pressure on the joints. Beginners should start slowly and do run-walk intervals, as fitness allows. Slow, gradual increases will help reduce risk of injury. ACSM also recommends wearing comfortable running shoes while running or jogging.
- The President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports: Fitness Fundamentals: Guidelines for Personal Exercise Programs
- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Physical Activity and Health
- BCBSA in Partnership With the President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports: Walking Works
- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Healthy Swimming
- PubMed: Community-based Aquatic Exercise and Quality of Life in Persons With Osteoarthritis