Cardiovascular conditioning improves circulation and strengthens the heart, lungs and blood vessels. It builds endurance and strength for the heart muscle, whether a person is well or recovering from a disease or injury. Exercise conditions the heart to work more efficiently, which helps prevent heart attacks or other heart ailments. It also increases oxygen to the blood, strengthens the heart and lungs, improves energy levels, burns calories and reduces cholesterol.
Like all muscles, the heart needs a steady program of exercise to help keep it fit. Moderate aerobic activity for at least 30 minutes six days a week is recommended for adults and 60 minutes of moderate aerobic activity each day is recommended for children.
To be aerobic, you must achieve a certain level of intensity in your workout, known as the target heart rate. To calculate your target heart rate, simply complete the following formula:
220 – Your Current Age = Maximal Heart Rate
Maximal Heart Rate x 65% = Target Heart Rate
In addition to aerobic activity, your physical therapist will likely recommend a series of strengthening exercises.