What are the merits of cardio workouts for fencers?
The health benefits of cardio workouts are just amazing in terms of longer life and reduced risk of disease, but fencers gain an additional set of benefits through cardio training.
Cardiovascular workouts are really workouts for your heart. It is important to train for your heart health, because your heart is the one muscle that you really can’t live without. That means you can strengthen your heart by doing any exercise that increases your heart rate, be it running or biking, hopping on the elliptical, jumping rope or going for a swim.
But what about cardio workouts for fencers, specifically?
Fencing is actually a great cardio workout in and of itself. But doing addition cardio will improve your fencing in a holistic way. That means that you’ll see improvements in a wide range of areas that don’t seem to be connected to whatever cardio you’re doing.
What you will find are some beautiful gains in the following areas:
- Mental Focus
Your cardiovascular system sends blood to the brain, which means sending nutrients and oxygen to it. By doing regular cardio workouts, you’ll help to clear that fog that so many of us walk around in. Cardio also releases endorphins. It makes you happy! Just like fencing! When you do this kind of workout regularly, it improves your memory and focus — which are of course important to fencers.
Cardio endurance is different from muscular endurance. The heart makes the rest of your body go. So, exercise that makes your heart stronger enables you to fence for longer periods of time. Fencing competitions and bouts can be marathons (in the case of foil and epee) or strenuous sprints (in the case of saber). If you’re huffing and puffing after a few touches in, then your fencing is going to suffer.
When you do regular cardio, you’re not going to think about how tired you are late in a bout. Thanks to your increased endurance, you’ll be thinking about your next move.
Which is better, strength training or cardio training?
Fencers can really benefit from cardio workouts. If you have to choose either cardio or strength training in terms of getting to the gym, then cardio is a good place to start.
You can start with just a half hour a couple of days a week — and you don’t have to run on a treadmill. Any cardio workout (running, eliptical, stationary bike, swimming, etc.) will yield benefits. As you have more time and greater ability, you can increase the length or intensity of your workout to match your goals.
The best part about cardio workouts for fencers is that they improve your life beyond fencing — making you healthier for a wide array of activities.
Whatever time you can carve out to get your heart pumping is time well spent, and you’ll be happy with the improvements that you see from it.