Gasping for air going up the stairs?

Meyken Houppermans
Founder and Head Coach
Gasping for air going up the stairs is a matter of cardio respiratory endurance. What is it and how to improve it?

What is cardio respiratory endurance?

Cardio respiratory endurance (CR- endurance) is the condition of your cardiovascular and respiratory system. You need both during exercise for several reasons, one being able to take up oxygen and secret waste products like CO2.The better both systems operate, the better your performance can be, and the more you will experience *a good endurance’ for example when taking the stairs.

How to improve it?

There are several ways you can improve your CR-endurance. Such as with traditional cardio workouts: brisk walking, running, cycling and swimming. More advanced athletes can also opt for strength training with little rest between sets, such as in CrossFit. Whatever you do, it is important your heart rate goes up, you start breathing heavy and break a serious sweat. Not a little, a lot!

What to do?

The minimum recommended level of exercise per day to stay in the same shape as you are right now, is 30 minutes at relative intenisty. If you want improve your CR- endurance, you need to do more. Beginners should think of working out three to five times a week, 30 to 60 minutes of continuous exercise per session. The intensity should be at a level at which you can speak only a few words or a sentence before you have to catch a breath again.

After a few weeks, you can increase the intensity to a level at which you can speak only one or two words before you have to catch a breath. Followed by another increase of the intensity to the level at which you can go all out and you need to gasp for air on a number of times during the effort.

For advanced athletes, it is essential to alternate between high intensity training days and rest days, and to combine traditional cardio workouts with high intensity strength training. This ensures optimal results and prevents over-training symptoms.

It's also the little things

All little things can help to improve your CR- endurance: Take the stairs instead of the elevator, take a sprint to the train, go for a run with the dog instead of a walk, use your bike instead of the car. It is a mindset of getting more active throughout the day.

Create your own health!©