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Exercise 101: Cardio Exercise & Its Benefits

Posted Apr 23 2008 6:36pm

Cardio on the TreadmillI’ve decided to create a series of posts explaining why certain exercises are important for getting in shape and working out effectively. Exercising not only makes you feel good about yourself, but doing something that will help your body change the way you want is also important. When a person makes a commitment to exercise and fitness, it should be done right.

Cardio is important!

We all know cardio is a must for getting in shape. Cardio is just one of the things a person that wants to get in shape has to do, and in my opinion, it’s beneficial for long term healthiness. If you’re just getting into exercising or getting bored of your exercise routine, you’ll definitely love cardio as much as I do.

So lets begin with the basics.
What is cardio? Cardio is short for cardiovascular which is a type of exercise that increases the work of the heart and lungs. Cardio is great for weight loss for one, but there are many other benefits. The benefits of cardio exercise also include stronger heart and lungs, reduced stress, reduced risk of heart disease and some types of cancer, temporary relief from depression and anxiety, better sleep, more energy and my favorite reason - more confidence in your appearance and how you feel physically and mentally. How could you say no to that? I know I couldn’t.

Cardio exercise may seem difficult for some people especially if they haven’t been exercising. Being active makes you feel good and it also increases blood flow to our muscles, thus strengthening our hearts and lungs. Cardio loosens tense muscles and makes you energized since your blood flow is pumping throughout your body.

Recommended Cardio Exercise Per Week

I do about 25-30 minutes of cardio 3 times a week. It is recommended to do cardio 3 or 4 times a week for about 30-60 minutes.

Types of Cardio Exercise

Most of us are familiar with cardio exercise and pair it with running. Running is not the only type of cardio exercise. That’s the best part of cardio exercise. You can change up your routine and do something different each time you do your cardio workout to avoid boredom. I know for myself I have to have variety because the same thing every day gets tired really fast.

You can ride a bicycle, whether stationary or cycling outdoors and burn up to 250-500 calories in 30 minutes granted you are not leisurely riding but at a faster pace.

Elliptical MachineFor people with bad knees can’t avoid cardio because an elliptical trainer is a great form of cardio for knee hurting people, and even for people who need a break from the treadmill or the pavement. It’s like using a cross country ski machine. You can also burn a lot of calories in 30 minutes.

Swimming is another favorite of mine and a great cardio exercise. 30 minutes doing the breastroke can burn almost 400 calories.

Step Aerobics sounds so 90s but it is another great cardio exercise for those who like being indoors. It targets areas of your body such as your legs, butt and hips while burning 400 calories a session. Most gyms offer step aerobics classes and you can even do it at home with a step or your stairs (just be careful!)

Row MachineRowing is an exercise that surprised me in how effective it is although to me it doesn’t seem like much. If you row vigorously enough you can really get your heart rate up working your arms like crazy. You can burn up to 300 calories if you are really working it out.

Walking is a great form of cardio, but only if you’re power walking. You can burn up to 180 calories in 30 minutes. Walking up hill or incorporating some quick jogging or sprinting can even make you burn more calories. Swinging your arms also helps too.

There are also exercise videos that are cardio targeted. One that I use a lot is the Turbo Jam series by Beach Body. I’ve also used Denise Austin’s videos as well such as Personal Training System and Shrink Your Female Fat Zones, but the Turbo Jam has good upbeat music and that is a must for me!

Conclusion: Make sure you incorporate cardio into your weekly exercise routine. You’ll definitely see a difference in how you handle this type of exercise as you keep on doing it. I know for me it definitely has made me from a lazy lump who couldn’t even run for 2 minutes without giving up, to someone who actually looks forward to run, can run for 2 minutes without giving up and wants to try other types of cardio exercises out!

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