While dancers have great flexibility and muscular strength, cardiovascular fitness can sometimes be forgotten or ignored. This is not healthy for the grand picture of balanced health. It is important to work in time specifically for cardiovascular fitness.
The technical definition of cardiovascular fitness is the heart, lungs and organs to consume and utilize the oxygen transported in the blood and pumped by the heart through the body. Increasing cardiovascular fitness results in more efficient circulation of oxygen-rich blood throughout the body. This means increasing the strength of the heart muscle thereby increasing blood volume propelled with each pump of the heart. The body in turn adapts to be more efficient in using the oxygen. The resting heart rate of a person with good cardiovascular fitness is lower, which is good because the heart does not have to work as hard to supply blood to the body at that time.
There are many, many health benefits to having good cardiovascular fitness. Some of those being decreased chance of cardiovascular disease, stroke, high blood pressure, diabetes. Not to mention lower chance of depression, stress, anxiety, and increased self-confidence.
What constitutes cardiovascular fitness? What types of exercise and for what duration does one need in order to reach these benefits listed above? According to studies and the recommendation of Surgeon General, 30 minutes of moderate exercise all days of the week is preferable. A brisk walk for 30 minutes resulting in 3 to 4 miles of walking will do the trick. Other forms of exercise will work as well, such as yard work, cycling, swimming, etc. The exercise should require the large muscle groups to work dynamically. Jogging, running, cross-country skiing, and skating are all also good examples of exercise. For most dancers, high impact weight bearing exercise such as running can be a concern. Swimming is a great alternative. Keep in mind that high impact exercise does not need to cause concern with the proper technique and foot wear. Not to mention weight bearing exercise can help keep bones strong, requiring the body to keep laying down calcium to those bones to handle the stress being applied to them. For more information on exercise please check out these websites:
CarliAnn & Ella