Endurance training for beginners: Beginners have no or very little experience in terms of endurance training. Putting an endurance training into practice actually isn’t that hard. For the beginning a weekly amount of 2 to 3 sessions of 20 to 40 minutes each are recommendable. To reach mentionable positive health effects, studies determine a 60-minutes-minimum of endurance training per week (Buskies W./Boeckh-Behrens W. (2014)). Here, you can choose from a wide range of endurance sports, such as running, cycling, swimming, etc. With the treadmill, cross-trainer, step machine or ergometer the gym also offers several appropriate pieces of sports equipment.

Endurance training for beginners – right intensity

Especially for beginners the best way to control the intensity during the endurance training is the rate of perceived exertion. This works quite easy. Imagine an intensity scale with the levels “easy”, “medium” and “hard” (or even with interstages, like: “easy-to-medium” and “medium-to-hard”). Easy would represent an exertion noticeably above the daily exertion-level and hard the maximum exertion. According to this scale you should be able to classify your actual level of exertion easily during a training session. This might be a little difficult in the beginning. But with the time you will develop a good feeling for your own body.

During the initial period (first 15 to 20 sessions) it is recommendable to choose an intensity between easy and medium throughout the entire training. After the 5th session it is certainly reasonable to have short peaks of intensities above medium every now and then. A maximum exertion should be avoided.

Endurance training for beginners – performance evaluation

To evaluate your performance and for documentary purposes it is advisable to run ergometer-based tests periodically (every 1 to 2 months). Please don’t consider rules of thumb or charts with general indications to determine the right exertion or heart rate. Each body has its individual set of properties that in most cases does not correspond to general values. (also see heart rate calculation)

Endurance training for beginners – preparation and follow-up

Warm-ups and cool-downs are reasonable things to do. 10 minutes warm-up will bring the pulse up onto training level. During the cool-down the pulse is calming down. Also, the body is already regenerating actively in endurance sessions of lower intensity. It is recommendable to extend the cool-down phase for that reason.

Your clothing has to be chosen in accordance to the conditions outside. At very high (>30° Celsius) or low (<-5° Celsius) temperatures it is important to listen carefully to your body. It might be better to work out at lower intensities in such situations. The same applies if physical problems occur, such as stitch, dizziness, nausea, etc. If necessary the training session must be aborted.

It is especially important for beginners to ensure a sufficient intake of liquids (preferably water) during and after the endurance training. Possible limitation of the cardiovascular system must be medically examined in advance. Please always keep a proper breathing during exercise and avoid working out with sore muscles.

The Fitness Guide carries on with:

Effects of strength training

Endurance training for beginners

The realization of an endurance training for beginners is quite easy. Learn the basic rules and get on the run!

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