The term’cardio’ is probably one of the first words you hear when you first start an exercise program. You know that cardio is an essential element of any workout, whether you want to shed weight, get fit, or just be healthier.
Health authorities advocate 150 minutes of cardio exercise per week to reduce health risks. If you want to lose a substantial amount of fat (greater than 5 percent of body fat ) and/or keep it off, you may have to do greater than 300 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity a week and that doesn’t even consist of strength training.
Getting a deeper understanding of cardio exercise may be what you want to get motivated to do it a little more often.
Cardio Exercise Definition
Cardio exercise simply means that you are doing a rhythmic activity that raises your heart rate in your target heart rate zone, the zone where you are likely to burn the excess fat and calories. Even bouts (or episodes) as short as 10 minutes count towards your weekly cardio exercise moments.
According to the 2018 Physical Activity Guidelines Advisory Committee,”episodes of any span bring about the health benefits associated with the accumulated volume of physical activity”
Benefits of Cardio Exercise
When you realize just how much cardio exercise can do for you, you may want to do some right now. There are very few activities you can do for a brief period of time that have this many benefits. Some of the known benefits are:
It helps you burn fat and calories for weight loss.
This makes your heart strong so that it doesn’t have to work as hard to pump blood.
- It increases your lung capacity.
- It helps lower your risk of heart attack, higher cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, and some forms of cancer.
- It makes you feel great, and can even offer temporary relief from depression and anxiety.
- It can help you sleep better.
- It helps decrease stress.
- It improves your sexual life.
- It provides you more confidence in the way you look and feel.
- Weight-bearing cardio exercise helps increase your bone density.
- It allows you to set a great example for your family.
And the great thing about cardio is that you don’t have to work out for an hour at a high-intensity to get the benefits. Even a little goes a long way. A 15-minute walk outside can enhance your mood and help lower blood pressure.
Don’t feel like you have to have a lot of time and energy for cardio. Doing a little each day is better than doing nothing at all. With all the benefits laid out for you, it is time for the next step that covers exactly how to select on your cardio exercise.
Selecting A Cardio Exercise
Your first step in assembling a program is to figure out what kind of activities you’d like to do.
The trick is to think about what’s accessible for you, what fits your personality and what you’d feel comfortable fitting into your life. If you prefer to go outdoors, running, cycling, or walking are all great options.
Just about any activity will operate, as long as it entails a motion that gets your heart rate in your heart rate zone. Walking is always an option. It’s something a lot of us can do on a regular basis and you don’t need fancy equipment.
If you prefer going to the gym, you have access to many more choices in the form of machines such as stationary bikes, elliptical trainers, treadmills, rowing machines, climbers, the pool, and more.
For the home exerciser, you can, of course, purchase your treadmill or elliptical trainer, however there are other great options such as:
- Exercise movies
- Online exercises and workouts
- Fitness apps
A variety of home cardio exercises that you can do enjoy jumping rope, jumping jacks, running in place, burpees, and more.
You have so many choices however, the problem isthat you may not understand what you like. You may have to try several different activities before you find one that is appropriate for you.
This is the experiment we all have to take part in and it can be hit or miss so don’t be afraid to try something and, if it doesn’t work, proceed to something different.