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Overcoming Low Cardio Fitness: Secrets to a Stronger Heart

We all know the importance of our cardiovascular fitness so, I did some research on how to build and maintain it.

Cardio fitness is your body's ability to use oxygen during exercise. There are many ways to build your cardio up such as:

  • Aerobic exercises such as running, cycling, swimming, or dancing

  • Interval training

  • Weight training

  • Outdoor activities such as hiking, kayaking, or skiing.

  • Group fitness classes such as Yoga, kickboxing, or spin classes.

  • Low-impact exercises such as walking

Cardio fitness cycling

Let’s take a look at the consequences of low cardio fitness, how to measure it, and tips for improving it.

What happens if your cardio fitness is low?

Low cardiovascular fitness can increase the chances of different health problems including, heart disease, diabetes, and obesity. Having a low cardio fitness level effects people in different ways and can negatively affect your mental health, leading to anxiety and depression.

There are many signs for low cardio fitness:

  • If you feel tired after climbing a flight of stairs

  • struggling to keep up with your friends during a hike

  • You feel tired throughout the day

  • You have a high resting heart rate

What is a cardio fitness score?

A cardio fitness score is a measurement of how well your body can use oxygen during exercise. A higher cardio fitness score indicates better heart and lung health, as well as overall fitness level.

You can easily measure it by using wearable device, such as a heart rate monitor or smart watch. I wear a smart watch which automatically measures my cardiovascular health.

The difference between cardio fitness score and VO2 score

Cardio fitness score estimates a person's maximal oxygen uptake based on factors such as age, gender, weight, and resting heart rate. Were as, VO2 max is a direct measure of the maximum amount of oxygen a person can use during exercise and is typically measured through a graded exercise test.

What is a good VO2 score by age?

Cardio fitness scores can vary depending on factors such as sex, weight, and overall health. However, there are recommended ranges for different age groups.

Age Range






























Everyone is different and your recommended VO2 score might be a little different to these guidelines. To get a more accurate recommended VO2 score for you, check with your doctor or health professional.

Why is my VO2 so poor?

There could be many factors causing a low VO2 max, including:

  • Genetics

  • Age

  • Inactivity

  • not properly recovering after exercise

  • Smoking

  • certain medical conditions

If your VO2 max is low, you should start an exercise routine and adjust your diet. If you have any health conditions, it is important to check with a healthcare professional before starting any new exercise routine or diet changes.

How long does it take to improve cardio fitness?

Improving cardio fitness is a goal of many people but, it takes time and consistency to achieve.

With regular exercise, most people will see improvement in a few weeks to a few months. However, the timeline can vary depending on factors such as starting fitness level, frequency and intensity of exercise, and overall health.

How Much cardio is enough?

For most adults, 30 minutes of moderate-intensity cardio such as brisk walking or cycling is a recommended minimum. However, more may be needed for weight loss or significant cardio improvement.

Why is my cardiovascular fitness not improving?

There are many factors that can contribute to a lack of cardio improvement such as inconsistent training, not recovering properly and lack of sleep or proper nutrition.

It is also possible for VO2 max to decrease as fitness improves due to the body becoming more efficient at using oxygen during exercise. However, this doesn't necessarily indicate a decline in overall fitness.

What are the signs of cardio improvement?

Signs of improved cardio fitness include increased endurance, better mood, and higher energy levels. You may also notice a decrease in resting heart rate and blood pressure.

What is the best exercise to improve cardio?

There are many types of cardio exercises, including running, cycling, swimming, and dancing. The best exercise for you is one that you enjoy and can do consistently. It is also important to vary your workout to challenge your body and prevent boredom.

What is the best exercise for an unfit person?

For an unfit person, low-impact exercises such as walking, cycling, and swimming are great options to start with. Yoga can also help improve flexibility and overall fitness. It is important to start slowly and build up gradually to prevent injury.

Walking is a great low-impact exercise that can improve cardio fitness, especially for beginners or those with joint pain. Walking at a brisk pace for 30 minutes a day can improve heart health, endurance, and weight loss.

Starting a new exercise routine when you are out of shape can motivate you to hit the ground running and push yourself to the max but, it is important to start slow and gradually increase intensity over time. Finding a workout buddy or taking a group fitness class can be a great motivator for a consistent workout.

Do you need cardio to look fit?

While cardio is important for overall health and fitness, it is not the only factor in looking fit. Strength training and eating a healthy balanced diet are crucial in achieving a fit appearance. Strength training can help build muscle and increase metabolism, while a healthy diet can help reduce body fat.


Improving your cardio fitness is important for overall health. While it may take time and effort, the benefits are well worth it. Take a look at this article I wrote explaining the benefits of running for your cardiovascular health.

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