Facts About Cardio

The Simple Facts About Cardio

Before we talk about how much cardio you should do, you should at least know why it’s so important. Cardiovascular exercise simply means that you’re involved in an activity that raises your heart rate to a level where you’re working, but can still talk (aka, in your Target Heart Rate Zone). Here’s why cardio is so important:

  • It’s one way to burn calories and help you lose weight
  • It makes your heart strong so that it doesn’t have to work as hard to pump blood
  • It increases your lung capacity
  • It helps reduce risk of heart attack, high cholesterol, high blood pressure and diabetes
  • It makes you feel good
  • It helps you sleep better
  • It helps reduce stress
  • I could go on all day, but you get the point

Bottom line: you need cardio if you want to get your weight under control and get your stress to a tolerable level.

Your first step is to what kind of activities you’d like to do. The trick is to think about what’s accessible to you, what fits your personality and what you’d feel comfortable fitting into your life. If you like to go outdoors, running, cycling, hiking or walking are all good choices. If you like the gym, you’ll have access to stationary bikes, elliptical trainers, treadmills, rowing machines, stairmasters and more.

For the home exerciser, there are a number of excellent exercise videos to try and you don’t need much equipment to get a great home cardio workout.

Keep in mind, you may not know what type of activity you enjoy yet. That’s all part of the experience, so don’t be afraid to try something and, if it doesn’t work, move on to something else. Just about any activity will work, as long as it involves a movement that gets your heart rate into your Target Heart Rate Zone. Remember:

  • There is no ‘best’ cardio exercise. Anything that you enjoy and that gets your heart rate up fits the bill
  • It’s not what you do, but how hard you work. Any exercise can be challenging if you make it that way
  • Do something you enjoy. If you hate gym workouts, don’t force yourself onto a treadmill. If you like socializing, consider sports, group fitness, working out with a friend or a walking club.
  • Choose something you can see yourself doing at least 3 days a week.
  • Be flexible and don’t be afraid to branch out once you get comfortable with exercise

 

Author:  Paige Waehner

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