What is Cardiorespiratory Endurance?

Ask Fit&Me is a Q&A series where we answer fitness-related questions frequently asked by our customers and followers. Do you have a question? You can submit it here.

When it comes to getting fit, there are certain terms that can fly straight over our heads. That’s a pity because some of them are vital to our performance improvement. A prime example is cardiorespiratory endurance.

What is cardiorespiratory endurance? is a question that quite a few of our readers have been asking as they try to fine-tune their cardio routine to achieve best overall results. Let’s find out together.

What is Cardiorespiratory Endurance?

Cardiorespiratory endurance is the body’s ability to supply enough oxygen and other fuel to the muscles during long periods of activity. The heart, lungs, and blood vessels are the parts of the body that are involved in this process.

In practical terms, cardiorespiratory endurance is the ability of your body to keep exercising for a long time without stopping. It is also referred to as aerobic capacity, cardiovascular fitness, and aerobic fitness.

The word cardio refers to the cardiovascular system, which is controlled by the heart. The cardiovascular system pumps blood and oxygen around the body. This includes the heart, arteries, capillaries, and veins.

The word respiratory refers to the respiratory system, which is controlled by the lungs. This system is responsible for taking in air and transferring oxygen into the blood to be pumped to the muscles and organs of the body. This body system includes the mouth, nose, diaphragm, and lungs.

When you improve your cardiorespiratory endurance, you will be strengthening your cardiovascular system as well as making your respiratory system more efficient. This will increase the amount of oxygen and nutrients that your body is able to circulate. As a result, you will be able to perform for a longer amount of time.

Improving Your Cardiorespiratory Endurance

Improving your cardiorespiratory endurance requires that you exercise at a progressively harder level of aerobic activity. If you do the same as you have been doing, you will not increase your aerobic threshold.

You should, therefore, perform cardio type training 4-6 times per week in order to improve your cardiovascular endurance. Training less frequently will benefit you in terms of fat burning, cardiovascular efficiency, and muscular endurance. However, improving your aerobic endurance takes the extra effort.

In order to improve your cardio endurance, you need to be exercising at between 65-85% of your maximum heart rate. To calculate this range, subtract your age from 220. This will give you your maximum heart rate. Then calculate between 65 and 85% of this figure for your lower and upper heart rate limits.

Stay within this target heart range. If you exceed it, you won’t be able to sustain the exercise for long enough to receive endurance benefits. And, if you exercise at below 65% of your target heart rate, you will not be working your heart hard enough to receive the benefit.

In order to receive cardiorespiratory benefits, you should exercise for at least 60 minutes at a time of medium intensity cardio exercise, such as running. When you step it up to high-intensity cardio, like plyometric training, you can cut it back to between 30-40 minutes per day.

So, what are some good forms of exercise to promote cardiorespiratory endurance? The following are all great choices:

What Are the Benefits of Developing Cardiorespiratory Endurance?

When you develop your cardiorespiratory endurance you are vastly improving the efficiency of both your cardiovascular and your respiratory systems. Beyond that, all of the organs of your body will function better when you improve your oxygen supplying capacity.

Training for cardio endurance will improve your overall cardiovascular functioning. The results of an improved cardio system are that you will have more energy to perform tasks throughout the course of your day as well as when you are called on to perform emergency actions (such as running to get out of the rain).

Developing your cardio endurance will also reduce your risk factor for such conditions as cancer, heart disease, and diabetes. Your immune system will also be strengthened. In addition, cardio training will help you to control your levels of body fat.

How Long Does it Take to Improve Cardiorespiratory Endurance?

Improving your cardio endurance will require continuous, progressive training. That means that, each workout, you should strive to go a little further or push a little harder than last time. And you need to stick at it.

Most people give up too easily. So, be in it for the long haul. After two weeks your body will have already started to adapt. After three months, you will have made profound positive changes in your level of cardiorespiratory endurance level.

What Changes Will Take Place?

When you improve cardiorespiratory endurance, you will have improved the ability of your body to take in and carry more oxygen. This will be the result of an increased number of red blood cells and hemoglobin.

Your heart will also become stronger. It will, therefore, be able to pump out a larger volume of blood with each beat.

Your overall resting heart rate will go down. This is a reflection of the more effective functioning of your cardiovascular system.

Summary: The FITT Principle

FITT is an acronym that stands for the key variables that make up different types of exercise. FITT stands for:

  • Frequency
  • Intensity
  • Time
  • Type

When it comes to cardiorespiratory endurance training, the following FITT principle parameters apply:

  • Frequency = 4-6 times per week
  • Intensity = 65-85% of your maximum heart rate
  • Time = 30–60 minutes depending on intensity
  • Type = Continuous, medium effort activities which can last for the stated time

Now that you’ve got a comprehensive answer to the question what is cardiorespiratory endurance, how about sharing what you’ve been doing to improve your cardiovascular endurance? Do you have a favorite workout that has been producing the results you’re after? Share it with the rest of the community below!

Send this to a friend