No matter what your fitness goals, your exercise plan should include BOTH cardiovascular and strength-training workouts.

Basic Guidelines for Cardiovascular Exercise

  • TYPE: To qualify as cardiovascular exercise, an activity should be continuous and rhythmic and should use large muscle groups.
  • FREQUENCY: 3 to 5 times per week
  • DURATION: 20 to 60 minutes per workout
  • INTENSITY: For low- to moderate-intensity, exercise at 60 percent to 75 percent of your predicted maximum heart rate level. For high-intensity, go up to 80 percent to 90 percent. To calculate your predicted maximum heart rate, simply subtract your age from 220.

    If you're just starting out and can't do 20 minutes, work toward this goal gradually. If you ever experience chest pain, dizziness or lightheadedness while exercising, stop immediately. If you are unsure whether certain cardio exercises are appropriate for you, consult your physician.