A Better you with Jen Abreu: High-Intensity workouts for cardiovascular health

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SPRINGFIELD, Mo — We have all heard that practice makes perfect. The more you do something, the better you become at it, right?

Well, the same is true for your heart. The more it works, the more effective it becomes, so it doesn’t have to work as hard for you to perform specific movements that may have been challenging before. Basically, the harder you make your heart work, the stronger and more effective it becomes.

High-intensity workouts are one way to put your heart and your body to work; you’re not only losing weight and staying in shape but also improving your cardiovascular health.

For this episode, we checked out 9Round Kickboxing and Orange Theory Fitness. Both offer high-intensity full-body workouts. At 9Round, the workouts typically take 31 minutes. At Orange Theory, they are an hour.

At both facilities, you wear a heart monitor allowing you to follow your heart rate throughout the workout. Each zone means you’re performing at a certain level and getting benefits specific to that.

“It took your height, weight, and gender and determined what your max heart rate would be,” said Lauren Abbot, manager, and trainer at 9Round Kickboxing. “The yellow zone is the best to stay in; that’s going to be your best fat burning zone.”

A monitor in the gym shows each zone represented by different colors like green, yellow, and red.

“It’s for your benefit, but it’s also for the trainer’s benefit,” Abbott said. “We are able to look at it and see who has a really high heart rate, and tell people to chill out for a second, back it off as far as the speed and aggression, or motivate and encourage people.”

At 9Round, you get Pulse Points, and your goal is to get at least 50. At Orange Theory, you receive Splat Points, and your goal is to reach at least 12.

“Once you get 12 points, that’s what we call the after effect,” said Theo Oghide, a coach at Orange Theory Fitness. “It’s going to burn more calories the next day and a half by doing nothing, that’s what’s great about it.”

Oghide says this is called EPOX, Excess Post Oxygen Consumption.

“You will be consuming more oxygen, and your metabolic rate will increase for the next day and a half,” he said. “Imagine if you are making something in the oven when you take the food out [the oven] is still going to be hot for a while. That’s your body for a day and a half. It’s taking longer to cool down, which is going to be burning more calories.”

But this doesn’t mean you can add a few extra cookies in the oven, it only means you will be burning extra calories, so you want those to count in your favor.

Most importantly, Oghide and Abbott say the next time you workout, it should be a little easier on your body and your heart, and you will gradually move from the red zone to orange/yellow and green zone.

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