Cardio exercise is the name for all types of medium to high intensity workouts that make your heart pump faster. Some of the more common types of cardio exercise are spinning, running and swimming. Cardio exercise is different to aerobics is that is more energy demanding and makes your body work harder. Good cardio exercise is strengthening the body’s cardiovascular system by stimulating the heart and lungs.
Cardio exercise is different from aerobic exercise and lifting weights at the gym in that it keeps the heart rate up for longer periods of time. Aerobic exercise is targeted at burning fat during longer periods of medium-intense exercise. Lifting weights is targeted at building up muscle mass by short and focused bursts. Intense cardio exercise increases your overall fitness and burns calories. Cardio exercise also improves the body’s metabolism by stimulating the whole cardiovascular system.
With a stronger and bigger heart more oxygenated blood and energy can be delivered to hard working muscles. A greater lung capacity allows us to exercise for longer durations without that common tired feeling after a workout. A stronger cardiovascular system means more capillaries deliver more oxygen to each cell enabling them to burn more fat during both exercise and inactivity.
You know you are training at high intensity when your body works so hard that you are unable to speak while exercising. This level comes at different points for different people. Some people might become exhausted from a jog around the block, then that is a good level to start building from. Others might have an easy time running along the beach keeping up a conversation. This means that you should step it up. Run a bit faster or longer, make sure that you keep your body working hard.
The best cardio exercise is one which keeps the heart rate at about 80% of maximum for at least 15 minutes.
Some of the most common forms of cardio exercise are:
- Spinning 141 calories burned
- Rowing 141 calories burned
- Swimming 161 calories burned
- Jogging 140 calories burned
- General Exercise 131 calories burned
Some of the benefits of cardio exercise are:
- Increased metabolism
- Increased energy levels
- Increased stamina
- Faster recovery after exercise
- Improved sleeping habits
- Cope with every day stresses & strains
- Reduction in moods and depression
Cardio is one of the hardest types of training for many people. Never mind monitoring your heart-rate, but just coping with the intensity of the training is hard work. However, as you train your body will get more used to the exercise and you will soon notice how you keep improving. A good way to stay motivated is to keep track of your results in a training journal. That way you can follow your progress and really see the results of all your hard work.