The term cardiovascular fitness conjures up images of open road runners and cyclist as well as exercise bikes and treadmills.
That mental image of what cardiovascular endurance exercises are serves you in a very limited way because it focuses your attention on your heart(cardio) and your blood vessel (vascular). Your heart and blood vessels do not work in isolation. In this particular case, they work hand in hand with your respiratory system.
A cardiovascular fitness workout program must at the very least consider your respiratory system that includes your lung and trachea. Cardiopulmonary is a definition that includes your heart and your lungs.
Add to cardiopulmonary fitness the skeletal muscles that assist your breathing and you have a strong foundation for a more comprehensive workout plans that help you with the fitness of your heart.
Let me give you an example related to aerobic exercises that focus Cardiovascular Fitness in comparison to high-intensity interval training that covers all three aspects.
Imagine a person who jogs three times a week on a treadmill at a steady recommended talking speed. Talking speed is the jogging speed that allows you to talk as you jog.
Your heart beat goes up and stays up to match your level of exertion. Over time, your body adapts and your heart becomes stronger.
However, at talking speed, you do not reach gasping for breath level. Gasping for breath level is when you can’t stand up and keep your mouth closed.
Granted that gasping for breath level is not safe for everyone, and you need to consult your physician before you even attempt it.
It is at this gasping for breath level that you create necessary stimulation for your heart, your lungs and the skeletal breathing apparatus especially your diaphragm to adapt to the higher level of efficiency and performance.
In this example, if you ask a discipline jogger to do a few rounds within a suicide run workout, you will find out how untrained they are as they quickly leave their adaption level of talking speed and reach gasping for breath level of exertion.
Suicide run workout is an example of high-intensity interval training that stimulates cardiopulmonary system along with skeletal muscle breathing apparatus. Just like other high-intensity interval training, you need to progress to them and not start them without any training.
I have worked with wrestlers, boxers and martial artists who got “winded” in their matches despite their intense cardio training. They did not recognize that they were missing out on their cardiopulmonary and breathing skeletal muscle training.