Cardio fitness, which is the heart and lungs’ ability to deliver oxygen to the body during exercise, is an important part of a healthy lifestyle. It helps maintain a stable weight, improves mental health, and increases the speed of blood flow throughout the body. It also improves your immune system, and boosts levels of high-density lipoprotein (or “good”) cholesterol while lowering low-density lipoprotein or “bad” cholesterol, which can help prevent cardiovascular disease.
Cardio exercises are any activity that raises your heart rate, respiration and blood pressure, using large muscle groups repetitively and rhythmically. These activities can include walking, jogging, swimming, cycling, hiking, dancing and other recreational sports. For those new to exercise, starting with easy cardio workouts like jumping jacks or a short brisk walk is a great way to build endurance and burn calories. For those looking for a more intense workout, interval training like Tabata or Shaun T’s program, Transform : 20, is ideal. It can be done in the comfort of your own home with minimal equipment, and is an effective workout for those who have limited time to exercise.
When choosing a cardio routine, it is important to pick something you enjoy enough to stick with. If you aren’t motivated to do cardio regularly, it will be harder to see results and may lead to injuries or a loss of interest in your workouts. The best cardio options are those that incorporate the use of large muscle groups, and include movement through all ranges of motion to engage all parts of the body.
As you increase the amount of cardio you do, your body will adapt and you’ll be able to work out at higher intensities for longer periods of time. To reach this level, you’ll need to know how to judge your intensity. The Talk Test is a simple way to do this: When exercising at a moderate intensity, you should be able to speak in sentences without having to gasp for air. To determine your maximum heart rate, subtract your age from 220, and then multiply it by 0.6 to obtain your target heart rate for moderate-intensity aerobic activity, Jonesco says.
Aerobic activities also strengthen the heart, which means it doesn’t have to beat as fast during workouts. This lowers the resting heart rate and increases endurance. It can also reduce the risk of chronic conditions, such as diabetes and heart disease, by improving blood sugar regulation and reducing pain and inflammation from arthritis.
The benefits of cardio don’t stop at the gym; regular physical activity has been shown to keep the brain young, too. Studies suggest that people who exercise regularly have a reduced rate of cognitive decline and experience an improved quality of sleep. Additionally, exercise has been shown to slow the aging process of muscles and bones, and improve mental health. It can even increase longevity, as people who do more cardio have a lower risk of premature death from heart disease, stroke, cancer and other preventable causes of death. cardio fitness