Cardiorespiratory fitness (CRF) is the amount of oxygen your body takes in, moves, and uses while you exercise. Basically, it tells us how well our bodies are able to handle movement and physical activity. We can improve this by engaging in aerobic activities, like biking, swimming, skateboarding, running, dancing, and more!
In general, aerobic activities are whole-body movements that boost your heart and breathing rates. Choose an intensity level that works for best you. Moderate-intensity aerobic activities may include walking around the block, helping pull weeds or rake leaves, or going for a family bike ride. Examples of more intense aerobic activities could be running a mile, swimming a few laps, or doing a set of jumping jacks!
A basic rule for determining an activity’s intensity level is the “Talk-Sing Rule.” If you can talk or sing through the activity, you are most likely performing at a light intensity. If your breathing rate has increased, but you can still sing or talk, you’re engaging in a moderate-intensity activity. If you cannot complete a sentence or verse without pausing for breath, you are engaging in a high-intensity activity.
There are many benefits of improving your CRF. One of the basic benefits has to do with how our bodies use the oxygen we breathe. We need oxygen to fuel the creation of energy molecules that allow us to jump rope, kick a ball, and even digest our food! Our body is always creating them, but the need for them becomes greater during exercise because we are using more of them. This is why you might breathe harder when you move quickly! Our bodies need more oxygen to fuel our increased activity level.
Performing aerobic activities also makes our hearts stronger, and protects them from various forms of cardiovascular disease. They also increase your mood, boosts your immunity to fight illness, and lessens the risk of developing diabetes.
It is recommended that children get 60 minutes of moderate to high intensity aerobic activity each day. Here is a short list of fun ways to engage in daily physical activity as a family!
- Have a dance party! Here’s a kid-friendly playlist on Spotify.
- Go on a walk in the neighborhood, around a school track, or on a local trail.
- Get everyone involved in chores! They’re a great way to engage in physical activity.
- Do an online workout together! There’s all kinds of exercise videos on Youtube, and here’s one specifically geared toward families! Here’s another for all levels.