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The aerobic capacity of each individual refers to the ability of our body to respond effectively to activities that require a certain effort without feeling tired.

This is determined by the heart’s ability to pump oxygen through our body and by our body’s ability to use this oxygen as fuel.

The more oxygen in the blood we can metabolize, the greater our cardiovascular capacity. It is, therefore, no wonder that increasing cardio and fitness is so important.

However, for this, bodyweight is also essential.

The maximum volume of oxygen in the blood is measured in milliliters x kilo x minute (ml/kg/min). Suppose two people have the same volume of oxygen in their blood, but one weighs 7 kilos more than the other. 

In that case, the one who weighs less will have the greater cardiovascular capacity, as they have a higher oxygen consumption with respect to their weight per minute.

Below, we provide tips on how to increase our aerobic capacity. 

How Can You Increase Your Cardiovascular Capacity?

To improve aerobic capacity, it is necessary to vary physical activity to make our body demand more oxygen and maintain it for a certain period. The characteristics of the activity, duration, and intensity will depend on each individual.

Determine Your Physical Level

Knowing if you are a beginner, intermediate or advanced will make your workouts more efficient and allow you to set suitable goals. It is also vital to avoid injury.

You are a beginner if you have not exercised for a long time, do it sporadically, or are just starting out.

You are intermediate if you exercise regularly, 1 or 2 times a week, and have been doing so for at least 6 months.

You are advanced if you exercise regularly, more than 3 times a week, including highly demanding cardio activities.

Find An Activity That You Like

Based on this scale, you can start by walking fast or jogging, doing aerobic activities of varying demand, dancing, high-intensity exercises, or tennis.

Cycling or swimming are also great options.


Experts say that 30 minutes of your preferred activity is enough to improve cardiovascular capacity.

As you improve, you can lengthen the time you spend on the activity. 

Determine Your Maximum Heart Rate And Train At 70-80% Of Your Capacity

It is essential to know your maximum heart rate and do moderate to intense exercises that demand between 70% and 80% of that to increase cardiovascular capacity.

To do this, you can follow these simple steps listed in this article:

How To Calculate Your Maximum Heart Rate

Credits: mohamed_hassan | Pixabay

When we do a moderate cardiovascular exercise, where our heartbeats per minute are between 60% and 70% of the heart’s max capacity, it is the point when we burn the most fat. 

Many people aim to train at this intensity to optimize fat-burning during their workouts. While the percentage is only an estimate, it is important to remember never to exceed 85% of this capacity, as fat-burning beyond this is unlikely.

Before we know how hard we can train, we first need to work out our maximum heart rate and then calculate 60% to 70% of that. Only then will we know our optimal heart rate to burn fat. 

With that said, what is our maximum heart rate? This depends on many factors: age, gender, weight, and heart rate at rest.

The simplest formula to calculate it is the following:

Maximum HR = 220 - age

If you are 35 years old, your maximum heart rate will be equal to 185 beats per minute (220 - 35). To calculate 60% to 70% of the maximum HR, you simply have to multiply the result by 0.6 and 0.7, respectively:

  • 60% of maximum HR = maximum HR x 0.6
  • 70% of maximum HR = maximum HR x 0.7

In this way, to optimally burn more fat, you should train with a heart rate of  between 111 and 130 (185 x 0.6 and 0.7, respectively) per minute.

However, this formula is very basic and does not take into account the sex or weight of the person.

As the male and female physiognomy when playing sports is different, and weight greatly influences the heart rate of each person, a more exact formula would be the following:

Men: HRmax = ((210 - (0.5 x age in years)) - (20% of weight))
Women: HRmax = (210 - (0.5 x age in years)) - (20% of weight) + 4

Continuing with the previous example, if I am a 35-year-old woman who weighs 55 kilos, my heart rate would be the following:

HRmax = (210 - (0.5 x 35)) - (55 x 0.2) +4 = (210-17.5 - 11) + 4 = 185.5

In this case, we see that the result is quite close to our original calculation, but a person who weighs 30 kilos more (85) would get a different result:

HRmax = (210 - (0.5 x 35)) - (85 x 0.2) +4 = (210-17.5 - 17) + 4 = 179.5

As you can see, this last formula is more precise.

But bear in mind that a person in excellent physical condition does not have the same maximum heart rate as a sedentary person who does not do any sport; even if they are both of the same sex, are the same age, and weigh the same. 

January 12, 2022
January 12, 2022

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