Steady state cardio or aerobic exercise gets passed up for HIIT (high intensity interval training) and other methods of cardio that seem to deliver more bang for their buck. However, there are some very good reasons to keep regular cardio in your routine. In today’s newsletter, we’ll take a look at what Zone 2 cardio is, how to do it and the most important health benefits that are unique to this form of exercise.
What is Zone 2 Cardio?
Zone 2 cardio is aerobic exercise of any kind that you can do for a long period of time because it’s low intensity and “easy”. You keep your heart rate steadily at 60-70% of your maximum (calculate yours here).
How Do You Do Zone 2 Cardio?
Walking, dancing, swimming, rowing, cycling, elliptical, and more can all be done at an easy pace that keeps your heart rate in Zone 2. Essentially, you are moving steadily for 20-60 minutes and it should feel easy and do-able. An easy way to know that you are not exercising too intensely is the “talk test” (being able to speak full sentences without taking a break).
Health Benefits of Zone 2 Cardio
As I mentioned, higher intensity workouts have been very popular for quite awhile, but fitness and health experts are re-embracing lower intensity exercise. Here are some of the key health benefits:
- Increased mitochondia (more power and energy to your cells)
- Improved circulation (your body builds more capillaries, tiny blood vessels)
- Improved oxygen capacity and aerobic base (more blood vessels allows for more oxygen delivery)
- Less fatiguing–Zone 2 cardio is great for those who are currently at a lower fitness level or energy level because it is much more accessible than “all out” interval training; (it also offers benefits for elite athletes)
- Improves insulin sensitivity (your body’s ability to effectively use insulin properly to prevent high blood sugar levels–this is good for your entire body and terrific for maintaining a healthy weight)
- Improves heart strength (heart chambers can hold more blood, pump blood more efficiently)
- Improves oxygen capacity and longevity–in a large study of over 120,000 participants, those that regular participate in Zone 2 cardio had better V02 max (maximum amount of oxygen your body can use at once and is an indicator of how fit you are) and greater life expectancy
It is recommended by the CDC to do 150 minutes of Zone 2 cardio each week which is just over 20 mins/day. Pick activities that you enjoy doing and listen to your body. If you have any concerns, contact your health professional.
It is my passion to work with people like you whose health symptoms are getting in the way of you living life fully and with a sense of freedom in your body. I can help you to regain your health so you can feel great and free to enjoy life fully.
If you’re ready to discover where your best health has been hiding, I’d love to connect with you!
Apply for a complimentary Unstoppable Health Discovery Session here (subject to availability).
Until next time, I’m wishing you unstoppable health!