Cardiorespiratory endurance is a good indicator of overall physical capacity, especially the ability to do more work, burn more calories, and recover better from activity bouts such as a round of golf. Although many golf courses require you to use a cart, several hours of play can leave you feeling quite fatigued on the last few holes. If you walk (which we strongly recommend whenever possible), you are likely to suffer an even greater performance decrement unless you have a moderately high level of cardiorespiratory fitness. Playing golf, unfortunately, is not the best means for getting in better shape to play better golf. Instead, you will make much greater progress by specifically conditioning your cardiorespiratory system.
Usually called aerobic conditioning, this aspect of your exercise program requires about 20 to 30 minutes of moderate activity, three days a week. Walking, jogging, stepping, and cycling are all appropriate activities for improving cardiorespiratory fitness. The level of conditioning is closely related to the intensity of the exercise. For example, a slow walk that raises your heart rate only 20 beats per minute above its resting level (typically about 70 beats per minute) is unlikely to have much impact on your aerobic capacity. A fast walk or jog, however, one that elevates your heart rate 60 beats per minute above resting, should have significant conditioning benefit. Performed on a regular basis, 20 to 30 minutes of moderate aerobic activity should make your heart a stronger pump, your circulatory system a more efficient blood transporter, and your blood cells better carriers of oxygen.
A simple formula for selecting appropriate exercise intensity is to train at about 70 percent of your estimated maximum heart rate. You can easily approximate this by subtracting your age from 220, and exercising hard enough that your heart rate is about 70 percent of this number.