What is Cardio Exercise? And its Benefits
Cardio Exercise raises your heart rate and makes you breathe heavy, and challenge your cardiovascular system.
Sure, standard workouts like running, cycling, and stair climbing can be great cardio exercises, but so can kickboxing, shooting hoops, and shoveling snow. Your cardio training options are almost limitless. You just need to keep the intensity high enough to challenge your heart and lungs.
Cardio exercise can be a steady-state exercise that’s done at low to moderate intensity, like jogging or an easy bike ride. It can also be intervals of high-intensity exercise, like HIIT, where you go all out for 20-120 second bursts, and then rest just long enough to allow you to perform the next round with equal intensity.
Cardio Exercises that are done primarily to build strength, such as lifting weights, using weight machines, resistance exercise, and core workouts, are usually not considered to be cardio exercises. They are intended to challenge strength, not cardiovascular endurance.
Just keep in mind that whatever cardio activity you choose should involve large muscle groups in the legs and trunk, since smaller muscle groups like the biceps and calves don’t create an oxygen demand large enough to tax the cardiovascular system on their own.
Cardio exercise benefits
- Weight Loss: All exercise burns calories. A deficit caloric intake and your body will burn fat and you will lose weight. Are you at an unhealthy weight now? Find out here: https://www.healthstatus.com/calculate/body-mass-index
- Stronger Heart: Teaches the heart to work more efficiently.
- Lowers Blood Pressure and Cholesterol: As your heart beats faster it increases blood flow. Blood vessels become more elastic when they are worked and small blood vessels widen to deliver more oxygen to your muscles.
- Increased Bone Density: Weight-bearing aerobic exercise like walking helps to decrease the risk of osteoporosis.
- Reduces Stress & Depression: When you exercise your body releases endorphins which are natural pain killers.
- Better Sleep: Let’s face us sleep well when our body is tired.
- Maintain muscle strength into old age: Strong muscles as we age will keep us independent longer.
- More Energy: You will increase your stamina and reduce your fatigue. OK, you may feel more exhausted when you first start an exercise program but stick with it and your energy levels will increase. You will be on your way to a more active lifestyle.
- Reduces the Risk of Heart Disease: Being physically active is important in preventing Heart Disease (#1 Killer) and Stroke (#5 Killer).
- Strengthens Lungs: When we move our large muscles we breathe faster and more deeply this improves lung function.
- Live Longer: Studies show that those who regularly exercise live longer than those who don’t.
- Less Likely to Get Sick: Exercise activates your immune system. Want to avoid a cold? Don’t pass up on your exercise.
Some of the best Cardio Exercise:
- Walking: This is the easiest and safest way to start getting in your cardio. There’s fresh air out there and it’s fun to actually go somewhere when you’re exercising.
- Elliptical: Minimal impact on the knees and hips but calorie burning is still high. When you increase the incline you will activate more muscles.
- Running: This one is easy to understand. Just remember if you train like a distance runner you will look like a distance runner. If you train like a sprinter you will develop a sprinter’s body. Steading running burns calories but sprints take it to the next level.
- High-Intensity Interval Training: Short intervals at maximum intensity followed by short periods of rest. The best all-around workout that burns fat and calories. Find a program here: https://www.healthstatus.com/high-intensity-interval-training/
- Bike Riding or Cycling: Cycling uses large muscle groups in the legs and helps elevate your heart rate. This one is great you can do it inside or outside, with your kids, or even over the internet in your own home.
- Swimming: This is a total body workout as long as you are not just floating – even treading water burns calories. Swimming laps would be best and change up the strokes you use so that you work all different kinds of muscles and the continuous pace works your heart and lungs.
- Rowing: Works both the upper and lower body and is low stress on joints and ligaments.
- Circuit Training: When you work out at high intensity the blood starts to pump a lot harder and that challenges the elasticity of the arterial wall.
List of cardio exercises at home
- Burpees: It’s a killer cardio exercise, burning 100 or more calories in 10 minutes (if you can stomach 10 minutes of this exercise).
- Jump Rope: It’s great cardio, burning about 220 calories in 20 minutes. Jump ropes are inexpensive, travel well, require no special skills, and can be used anywhere you have space.
- Jumping Jacks: Jumping jacks burn about 100 calories in 10 minutes and no special equipment or skills are needed.
- Squat Jumps: Squat jumps are a plyometric exercise that will raise the heart rate, burn calories, and increase power in the legs. No special skills are needed.
- Kickboxing: Kickboxing can burn more than 100 calories in 10 minutes at the right intensity, requires no equipment, and can help you get out of your aggression.
- Jogging in Place: It’s simple, accessible, get the heart rate up, and is a great way to warm up for more intense exercise.
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