The benefits of cardiovascular exercise are not limited to weight loss and beauty, but are an important part of your everyday health and fitness. Cardiovascular workouts are believed to reduce some of the leading causes of deaths in the United States, such as obesity and heart attacks, as well as to increase your energy level and improve your overall wellness. Cardio workouts are extremely easy to maintain and in many cases do not require fitness equipment. They can also be a fun and enjoyable way to socialize during your workout routines, as you exercise and maintain wellness.
What is Cardiovascular Exercise?
The term "cardiovascular exercise" refers to any exercise that uses a large group of muscles continuously and rhythmically for a period of time. The intensity of these exercises vary considerably, and depend on an individual’s personal choice.
Daily activities such as walking and biking are considered some of the lower intensity cardio workout options. Some people prefer shorter sessions of intense cardio exercises such as jumping rope. The important thing is to elevate the heartbeat to its aerobic state of 65 to 80%.
The Benefit of Cardiovascular Exercise
The benefits of exercise, and of cardio exercises specifically, range from fitness and toning, to weight loss and improved overall health. It is vital that every person participate in some form of cardio workout every single day, especially for those of us who work in an office or cannot stay active during the day.
Some of the benefits of cardio exercises include:
- Weight loss and muscle toning. Cardio is considered a great way to burn fat and carbohydrates in a relatively small amount of time
- Endurance and stamina. Exercise helps build your cardio respiratory endurance, keeping your heart and lungs healthy
- Increased bone density and strength
- Increased energy levels and relief of stress, anxiety, and temporary depression
- Reduced risk of heart disease and certain types of cancer
Types of Cardio Workouts
Any activity that raises your heart rate and uses the muscles of your overall body must be performed for at least 25 minutes in order to be considered a cardio workout. That means that if you decide to go for a walk or work in your garden, your heart rate must be significantly increased in order to constitute a session in your exercise program. It is recommended that every person have three cardio exercise sessions every week.
If you do decide to choose walking as part of your exercise routine, you may want to form a social group or walk with a partner. Choosing routes with hills or inclines, and interchanging between walking and jogging, can increase the benefits of exercise.
If you are looking for a cardio workout that is a little more rigorous, consider these options:
- Step aerobics and water aerobics classes at your local fitness club. This is a great way to socialize while getting a controlled workout that incorporates different exercises with music
- Classes and videos on kick boxing and pilates techniques
- Biking, jogging, or rollerblading are great outdoor exercises
- Exercise equipment at your local gym or home such as treadmills or an exercise bike
- There are many aerobics classes that incorporate dancing into an exercise routine, but most dance classes or sessions will provide you with a certain level of cardio exercise
The key to creating a successful cardiovascular exercise program is choosing activities that you will enjoy, and that can easily be incorporated into your day. You can increase the intensity of your workout with time, and feel free to alternate between different workouts. Your health is important on a daily basis, so regular exercise should be a part of your daily life as well.