Frequency: Cardiovascular training is the optimum workout for these goals, and frequency can range from two to seven days per week.
Intensity: Once again, your intensity depends on your current fitness level. Keep your heart rate within your target range (50 to 70% of your maximum heart rate) to get results without risk. A heart rate monitor makes it easy to track your intensity, but you can do it the old fashioned way too:
1. Determine your maximum heart rate (MHR). The commonly used formula subtracts your age from 220, but new research from Northwestern Medicine in Chicago says calculating a woman's MHR is a little more complicated: 206 minus 88 percent of a woman's age. A 32-year-old woman's MHR, for example: 206 - (0.88 x 32) = 178 beats per minute (BPM).
2. Multiply your MHR by 0.7. In our example: 178 x 0.7 = 125. This means that a 32-year-old woman who wants to improve aerobic fitness needs to exercise at 125 BPM to operate in the correct zone.
Type: Cardiovascular training can be anything that increases the heart rate over a prolonged period of time, including jogging, running, cycling, swimming, hiking, or rowing.
Time: Aim for a minimum of 20 to 30 minutes per session. As with strength training, you don’t want to overdo it. Instead of heading out for a two-hour jog, concentrate on working in your target heart rate zone up to 40 minutes at a time and you’ll see great results.