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Cardiovascular Endurance: How Long Does It Take To Get Out Of Shape?

cardiovascular endurance


If you've ever taken time off to nurse an injury or because you just fell out of love with your routine you understand how hard it is to resume your cardio workout. The two most notable occasions that will cause you to notice your cardiovascular endurance are when you're in a training program or when you've altogether taken time off from exercise. For the purpose of this post, we're going to discuss what happens to your endurance when you take time off from your workouts; spoiler alert, your endurance decreases pretty quickly. You are also going to get some tips to increase your cardiovascular endurance through strength training, so read on my friend...

Cardiovascular Endurance Definition...

Cardiovascular endurance is defined as the heart and lung's ability to transfer oxygen throughout the body during a given physical activity. Or, in layman's terms, it's your ability to exercise without quitting from fatigue.

Understanding VO2 Max...

To really understand what happens when you get out of shape you'll need to be familiar with the term VO2 Max. Your VO2 Max is the maximum amount of oxygen you can utilize during exercise. The more oxygen that your body can utilize, the higher your endurance performance. The natural next question is how can you increase your VO2 Max. Well, like many things fitness related it's determined by genetics, age, gender, and your environment.

(1) VO2 Max decreases with age.

(2) Women proportionally tend to have a higher VO2 Max than men

(3) Higher altitudes, due to less oxygen, diminish your VO2 value.

How Long it Takes to Feel Out of Shape...

Unfortunately, it's quite easy to get out of cardiovascular shape. You'll notice a decrease in your cardiovascular conditioning within about twelves days of inactivity and an even more discouraging 20% decrease in your VO2 Max after a month.

The Best Way to Improve Cardiovascular Endurance...

Now that you have a better understanding of just how long it takes before your endurance decreases, let's talk about ways to increase it. The main thing you want to remember is that pace and muscle activation are everything. The faster your workout and the more muscles you activate per exercise, the more your heart rate increases.

(1) Time your workouts and challenge yourself to complete the same workout in less time.

(2) Decrease your rest periods in between sets.

(3) Incorporate compound movements like squats into your workouts.