What is Cardiorespiratory Resistance and Why it Matters?

Cardiorespiratory resistance allows the lungs and heart to oxygenate the blood that's circulated throughout the body. Read along to find out how you can improve it.
What is Cardiorespiratory Resistance and Why it Matters?

Last update: 28 August, 2019

Many people talk about doing cardio, but they don’t know what cardiorespiratory resistance is. In the following article, we’ll share how to improve your cardiorespiratory resistance.

What is cardiorespiratory resistance?

Firstly, we need to define cardiorespiratory resistance. It’s the ability that the body has to perform tasks that require a lot of movement or the input of large muscle groups for a long period of time.

The heart and lungs must adapt to be able to carry oxygenated blood to all of the body’s muscles. That’s why, when you start to perform cardio exercises, your heart and breathing rates increase.

Once the workout is over, the heart and lungs have to recover in a timely manner. This is what’s known as cardiorespiratory resistance.

Muscular endurance is closely linked with cardiorespiratory resistance. Muscle endurance can be defined as the ability that the muscles have to contract for prolonged periods of time. In order to achieve this, they must be oxygenated adequately.

Why is this important?

Cardiorespiratory resistance or cardiovascular fitness is an essential component of health. This applies whether you practice sports or not. However, it’s difficult for sedentary people to develop this capacity since their organs are not accustomed to being under stress.

Tired woman

It’s also important to note that when we’re resistant (or what’s commonly known as ‘being physically fit’), we prevent the appearance of certain diseases such as cardiac arrest, high cholesterol, and type two diabetes. As if that wasn’t enough, being physically fit can also reduce anxiety and depression.

If you increase your resistance, you’ll be more efficient when it comes to everyday tasks such as climbing the stairs, carrying shopping bags, running to catch the bus or even playing with your children in the park. Resistance is essential for life itself!

How to improve cardiorespiratory resistance

There are many different ways to improve cardiorespiratory resistance, however, they all involve exercise. The good thing is that there’s a wide range of exercises to choose from depending on your availability and objectives.

In order to improve cardiorespiratory resistance, you can practice activities such as swimming, cycling, running, jumping, jogging, aerobics and spinning.

person swimming

If you’d like to improve your muscular resistance, you can also perform exercises with your body’s weight such as skipping, calisthenics, and push-ups. Another alternative is to perform strengthening exercises using equipment at the gym.

Any physical activity that you perform on a regular basis and for a certain period of time (at least half an hour) will raise the heart rate. Try to involve large muscle groups such as the legs, back, chest and arms. If you meet those requirements, you’ll be able to effectively improve your cardiorespiratory resistance.

There’s no need for a gym or park, you can increase your resistance through household choressuch as doing gardening (mowing the lawn, raking, digging), vacuuming, cleaning the windows, etc.

How to improve cardiorespiratory endurance at the gym

If you’d like to increase your cardiorespiratory or aerobic resistance and you like to train, the following are routines that you can perform at the gym. Your heart and lungs will thank you for it!

Lateral displacements

The objective of this exercise is to perform it faster and faster, without neglecting technique. Stand with your hands at your side. Take a side step with your right leg, flex it slightly and extend your left leg.

woman stretching

Touch your right foot with your left hand. Your right hand should rest on your right thigh. Next, move your feet back together and repeat the exercise with your left leg. Try to perform this exercise 10 times.

Jumping jacks

This exercise is complete and it’ll allow you to improve your cardiorespiratory resistance. Start standing with your legs together and your arms by your sides.

Jumping jacks in the park

Open both legs at the same time with a small jump, while also raising your arms above your head (the idea is to make your palms touch). Then, with another jump, close your legs and lower your arms. Try to perform 20 repetitions.

These two basic exercises will allow you to strengthen your cardiovascular resistance. However, keep in mind that there are many other exercises. You can also perform scissor jumps, burpees, and many more. Train frequently and improve your health!

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  • Pallarés, J. G., & Morán-Navarro. 2012. Propuesta metodológica para el entrenamiento de la resistencia cardiorrespiratoria. Methodological approach to the cardiorrespiratory endurance training. J Sport Health Res Journal of Sport and Health Research.