The Simple Facts About Cardio Fitness
Before we talk about how much cardio you should do, you should at least have an idea of why cardio is 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. Cardio exercise is recommended because it:
- Burns calories to help you control or lose weight
- Makes your heart strong so that it doesn't have to work as hard to pump blood Increases your lung capacity Helps reduce risk of heart attack, high cholesterol, high blood pressure and diabetes
- Helps you to sleep better and can reduce stress
- Makes you feel good!
Different Types of Fitness Activities
The first thing you need to do is decide what kind of activities you'd like to do. These days, there are so many choices that there's no reason why you can't find something you enjoy. If you like to get outdoors, running, cycling, hiking or walking are all good choices. If you prefer the gym, then you'll have access to all sorts of cardiovascular fitness equipment including exercise bikes, treadmills and cross trainers. Just about any fitness activity is acceptable as long as it involves a movement that makes you reach your target heart rate zone.
- There is no 'best' cardio exercise. Anything 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're not keen on rowing, don't force yourself onto a rowing machine.
- If you like socialising or have a workout buddy, it might be worth considering team sports.
- Do something you can see yourself doing at least twice a week.
- Be flexible - you don't have to do the same thing all the time. It's not only boring but will lead to weight loss plateaus.
- Mix up your exercise, even if that simply means exercising in a different order e.g. if you work out in a gym and normally start on the treadmill, start on the exercise bike next time.