What Is Cardio Exercise?
A fitness program may include all forms of exercises. While weight training and strenuous workouts may be tried only by a few, cardio training is very popular among fitness followers. Cardio exercises have a variety of options and are a part of almost every fitness regimen. The other terms for cardio exercises are cardiovascular exercises, cardio-respiratory exercises or simply cardio.
Cardio training includes those exercises that are meant to work out your heart. Cardio exercises use your largest muscles to make certain body movements that increase your heart rate and keep them sustained at the higher levels for some time. These exercises help to maintain your heart health and have a host of other health benefits. Aerobic exercises that allow you to breathe freely too are cardio exercises.
Benefits of Cardio Exercise
Cardio exercises are aimed at improving cardiovascular endurance that can keep you active for long and your heart functioning well. The cardio training enables to improve metabolism, burn more calories and lose weight; hence cardio exercise is the most important part of a weight loss fitness routine.
Some of the benefits of cardio exercises include:
- Maintain or lose weight
- Strengthen heart and lungs
- Efficient functioning of heart
- Decreased risk of heart diseases
- Preserve an active and healthy lifestyle
- Improved bone health and increased bone density
- Improved sleep, energy levels and positive attitude
- Reduced stress and improved ability
- Reduced emotional outbursts, depression and anxiety.
How To Do Cardio Exercise?
Cardio exercises are beneficial in every way. There are many ways of performing cardio exercises and they are meant for specific purposes. What you choose depends on your purpose of doing cardio and your goals of cardio training. You can choose any type of exercise that you are able to perform without discomfort.
Ideally, cardio exercises should be performed for duration of 20 minutes, during which the heart rate remains at the increased levels. These are generally performed for at least three days a week; some might enjoy five times a week. Doing 20 to 30 minutes of moderate intensity cardio training for most days in a week can reap you maximum heart-health benefits. Sports persons and athletes may perform at higher intensities for athlete level conditioning.
However, for beginners or for those who might take some time to be comfortable with cardio exercise, beginning with slow paced cardio training for sometime every day can be good enough. For those who have other medical conditions, injuries, bone and joint disorders, cardiac or respiratory disorders need to follow medical advice about the most suitable type and duration of cardio exercise.
You should have moderate sweating during exercises while breathing normally. If there is difficulty in breathing or you have trouble in talking during exercise, it may mean that you need to go slow. The most important part is to be consistent in following a cardio fitness routine and gradually increasing the workout levels. Increasing the levels, challenges your performance, which trains your heart in the right way to be able to enjoy the benefits of cardio exercises. The best cardio exercises are steady paced workouts for longer duration.
List of Cardio Exercises
There are a wide range of cardio exercises that can be performed in an indoor, outdoor, gym, pool or any other setting. Cardio exercises can be kept simple and performed without using sophisticated equipments too. Simple ways of cardio exercises include walking, jogging, running, cycling, swimming, aerobics and sports activities.
Cardio exercises gym training includes treadmill walking, stationary bike riding, elliptical workout and similar equipments, which give high intensity workout option. Low impact cardio exercises like brisk walking; continuous set of exercises, aerobics, Tabata cardio workouts (advanced form of high intensity interval workouts), etc. can also be performed.
Cardio Exercises For Cardiovascular Fitness
The lungs are responsible for respiration, exchange of oxygen and other gases, while the heart takes charge of pumping blood and oxygen to all parts of the body. Heart, being a muscle needs to be exercised regularly to maintain its strength and ability. Cardiovascular fitness is your ability to take in maximum oxygen through the lungs and pump out enough oxygen to the body muscles for your activities.
Cardio exercises include such body movements, which are aimed at increasing your heart rate and ultimately increase the oxygen uptake. This helps to improve oxygen consumption of your body and increases body metabolism too. The term aerobic explains the fact that oxygen is utilized and more oxygen is taken by the body while performing cardio exercises.
Depending on your age group and fitness goals, you will have a defined Target Heart Rate, which is the range at which heart rate is to be maintained during cardio exercise.
Cardio Exercises To Lose Weight
As cardio exercises help to increase body metabolism, there are a popular pick in the weight loss world. If the purpose is weight loss along with improving cardiac health, you can choose activities that focus more on burning calories. Jogging, gym workouts, swimming and aerobics help to burn more calories than walking. Swimming and aquatic aerobics are the best options for those who are overweight, as they help to keep off the weight while exercising.
Selecting the right type of combination of cardio exercises varies from person to person. Consulting a fitness expert can be a good idea.