Cardio helps you to lower your body fat, increase your endurance, lose weight, and gives you many more health benefits such as:
- Increasing circulation
- Burns off excess calories
- Improved heart health - no more getting winded!
- Increases your metabolism
- Releases the 'feel good' hormones that combat depression and fatigue
- Releases hormones that decrease your appetite
- Relieves stress! (Yay! I love this one :)
Cardiovascular exercise, is any repetitive, rhythmic movement or exercise that increases your heart rate and increases your blood circulation.
So if it makes you breathe harder than you do when sitting or at chilling out and it makes you sweat then it counts! Playing a guitar, sweeping your porch off or having sex are included!
But it is just a part of your fitness plan: you still need flexibility training (yoga or stretching) and strength training (building your muscular frame and changing your body composition).
Another benefit of this type of fitness training is the improved ability to recover after a hard workout. It helps to decrease DOMS (delayed onset of muscle soreness) that build up of lactic acid that makes you feel stiff and can be painful at times.
How to Get Started
If you are just starting to work out, start out with an exercise like walking, running or riding a bike. You can use a treadmill, the bicycle in your garage, or a stationary bike or machine at the gym.
Start out easy, enough to get your heart rate up. How do you really know your heart rate is at the right place to be burning calories? I am at the point where I know by the way I feel and am breathing when I am at my target heart rate.
How to Find Your Target Heart Rate
I will go over this in more depth on another page, but for now here is a simple formula to find your minimum and maximum heart rate.
1. Subtract your age from 220. For example, I am 36 years old so 220-36= 184
2. Find 50% of this number. So for me, 184 x .50 = 92 This is my minimum heart rate. My pulse (beats per minutes) should not drop lower than this. This is where I may barely break a sweat, if at all.
3. Take the same number (220-age) and multiply by 85%. For me, 184 x .85 = 156. This is my max heart rate and it would be like doing HIIT exercise to the hilt!!! Sweating, gasping, panting and only able to keep it up for a little bit.
Here are examples of cardio type of exercises:
- dancing (Zumba, hip hop)
- running (outdoors or on a treadmill)
- walking (outdoors or on a treadmill)
- cycling outdoors, stationary cycling, Spinning
- circuit training
- elliptical machine
- stair steper machine
- climbing or running stairs
- and many other types of movements or activities that get your heart rate up!