Improving your Heart and Brain Health
with Essentrics

 

There’s been a lot of chatter lately about improving your brain health through moderate cardio workouts, and Essentrics being a flowing workout is the perfect type of cardio, here’s why:

It’s well established that an Essentrics workout leaves you feeling lighter, stronger, taller, and instantly relaxed – the range of motion and rebalancing exercises used within the program are designed to maintain posture, muscle and joint health. Additionally, those same full-body, dynamic, range of motion exercises in Essentrics help to improve your overall circulation and have tremendous benefits on two of your most vital organs: your heart and brain.

 

Blood Flow Workouts and the Brain

 
There is mounting evidence showing that aerobic workouts increase blood flow into regions of the brain associated with memory 1, focus, and verbal fluency 2. Notably, many studies have shown that improving cardiovascular fitness increases vasculature to the hippocampus – an important region of the brain for learning and memory function 3. For immediate and long-term benefits of brain health, the muscular system and circulatory system play a large role in reversing cognitive decline and even improving memory. This means that you want to make sure your workouts include a cardiovascular element!

Moderate training intensity is defined as doing exercise that elevates your heart rate (causing you to breathe harder than when inactive), while still being able to carry on a normal conversation.

 

What qualifies as Aerobic Exercise?

 
As mentioned above, what makes aerobic exercise great for heart and brain health is that it improves oxygenation and energy. Aerobic Training is done at a moderate training intensity, keeping the heart rate in a zone where you can ‘maintain a conversation` – such as with Essentrics. In contrast, High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) gets the heart rate up for short intervals and does not use oxygen for fuel. Examples of moderate training intensity include brisk walking, raking the yard or mopping floors, and playing tennis with a partner.

The American Heart Association (AHA) 4 recommends getting 150-180 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise training per week. This can be broken down to 30-60 minutes a day 3-5x per week. If you are using Essentrics for aerobic health, the workouts you choose depend on your individual fitness level. There are several factors, such as age and training experience that will determine your target heart rate zone for aerobic training. The table below (Table 1) gives the average target values per age group recommended by the AHA. If you use a heart rate monitor like a watch, you can easily track this.

The full body nature of Essentrics places a large demand on the heart to pump blood to the muscles throughout the entire body and improve overall circulation.

 

Essentrics as a Cardio Workout:

 
Many people are often surprised when they track their heart rate with Essentrics and find that they are getting an aerobic workout! You don’t need to do fast-paced workouts to get into the target heart rate zone for aerobic training – but you do need to stay moving to stay in the zone. The full body nature of Essentrics places a large demand on the heart to pump blood to the muscles throughout the entire body and improve overall circulation. If you are someone who does not move around a lot in your day, we suggest selecting longer workouts with additional standing and chair exercises. The beauty of the cardiovascular system is that it cannot tell whether you are doing the exercises perfectly, just that you stay moving! While 23-30 minutes is good for your overall health, we recommend including a few 45-60 minute workouts for heart health.

Perfection in a workout: the name is Essentrics!

Table 1. Average Maximum and Target Heart Rates per Age Group

Age (years old) Target Heart Rate Zone (50-85%)* Average Max Heart Rate (100%)
20 100-170 bmp 200 bpm
30 95-162 bpm 190 bpm
40 93-157 bpm 180 bpm
50 85-145 bpm 170 bpm
60 80-136 bpm 160 bpm
70 75-128 bpm 150 bpm
80 70-119 bpm 140 bpm
90 65-110 bpm 130 bpm

* To target ‘Zone 2’ Cardio, you want to aim between 60-70% of your Average max heart rate

Challenge yourself!
Join one of our low-impact cardio programs.

 

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References:
1. UT Southwestern Medical Center. Exercise improves memory, boosts blood flow to brain. Science Daily. [Online] 2020.
2. Aerobics may be a smart workout for your brain at any age. Neuroscience. [Online] may 14, 2020.
3. Exercise training increases size of hippocampus and improves memory. Erickson, Kirk. 2017-22, USA : s.n., Feb 15, 2011, Proc Natl Acad Scie.
4. AHA. Endurance Eercise (Aerobic) American Heart Association. [Online] 2022.