This is a question we get asked a lot, and a topic that’s very commonly misunderstood.  Our answer to this question:
“As much as you need.”  
This may sound like a snarky or rude answer, but the reality of it is true- you need to train your cardiovascular system as much and as hard as you need to in order to allow you to do the things you want to do. 
This discussion can go a few directions, so we’ll hit on a few of the reasons why we answer this question the way we do.  The first reason is this:  there needs to be a purpose to your training and a reason behind taxing/stressing your body- especially your heart!  There are a lot of articles and recommendations out based on “studies” telling us we need to have so many minutes per day of activity at an elevated heart rate, or even actually telling us what target heart rate we should be working at to make us healthier.   Those are all useful information, but are not person-specific!  Those are general guidelines based on what we call correlation studies.  In other words, people who typically get ___ amount of activity at an elevated heart rate have fewer heart problems, or working at ____ beats per minute for ____ amount of time will “strengthen your heart”and make it healthier.  After all, the heart is a muscle, right?
This is true, and not true.  The fact of the matter is, we are all individuals with different health histories, metabolisms, fitness levels, and fitness goals.  A blanket recommendation may be beneficial, and has been for a lot of people, but also may not be the best approach- and hasn’t been for a lot of people! 
Our idea of cardiovascular “training” is that it should be that- “training.”  Meaning you train your body to perform a certain activity or type of activity while at the elevated heart rate your sport (or life) requires, with the end goal being you are able to do whatever activity or sport you’re training for easier with less heart rate elevation over time- ie. you’re more efficient!  Your heart is a muscle, but it’s the one muscle in the body that is always working.  Making it work harder just to make it work harder doesn’t seem like the healthiest approach.  
Heart rate varies quite a bit throughout the day.  It’s controlled by hormones released (indirectly) by the brain in response to stress.  Often times people are functioning at an elevated heart rate without even knowing it- as a response to stress.  The fight or flight response is going on at some level all of the time, all day long.  It doesn’t always take a life or death situation.  We’re starting to find that stress is what actually affects heart function the most, as well as what leads to all of our “lifestyle diseases” that are beginning to run rampant in our society.  Those stress hormones will raise your heart rate in response to exercise, obviously, but also in response to hunger, poor food choices, a big presentation, a meeting with the boss, running the kids across town for soccer practice, poor air quality, etc.  Not moving for hours at a time, or not moving well is a stress to the brain.  Pain from current or past injuries is a stress to the brain.  
This is the uphill battle we’re fighting in educating the public.  We’re even working with the Berkeley Police Department to create a new program to address this issue… where can i buy Clomiphene We are always under some sort of stress and creating a “fight or flight” reaction to it at some level all day every day.  We live in a society that is now fueled by stress hormones to survive on a day to day basis- And that’s really what’s killing us.
The real key to “Evolved Training and Living”:   weblink Make your body as stress-proof as possible!  You can’t control all of the stress that comes your way.  You can, however, control how you respond to it. (This has implications for both fitness training and life!)
Your training should work towards giving you more and more strength and movement options so activities are less stressful to you. Learning how to function well at elevated heart rates eventually make those levels less stressful and more “endurable,” making you healthier and more athletic.  Your diet should give you the vitamins and nutrients you need to build the healthy, anti-stress hormones that support energy production and metabolism so you have the resources available to think more clearly and combat the stressful situations (more on this to come soon!). 
This is not to say that we shouldn’t workout hard or get out of breath, or anything of the sort.  There should just be apurpose behind it and an appropriate balance. Your training should be a short-term stress that enhances your ability to do the things you love and bring you joy better, more often, and longer!  Your heart works hard enough- don’t make it work harder without good reason.

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