Cardiovascular exercise, also known as cardio, is important to any weight loss or fitness plan, and that is why many of you came to us to fill your cardiovascular needs by getting our top of the line NordicTrack treadmills, elliptical trainers, and exercise bikes.
Whether your goal is weight loss, to build muscle or simply to improve your overall health, cardio is an important part of any fitness plan. With that being said, we also want to remind you as well the importance of combining weight training with cardio for optimal fat loss, as stated in this article here.
So since we supply you with all your cardio equipment needs, we thought it was important to tell you all you need to know about cardio including: exactly what cardio is, why cardio is such an important factor in any fitness and weight loss plan, how much cardio you should be doing, as well as a few cardio workouts to try.
What Is Cardio?
Cardio exercise in simple terms is any exercise that is going to raise your heart rate as well as your breathing rate. According to this article on exercise.about.com, it is “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).” These types of workouts are often called aerobic exercise, because they improve your aerobic system, which is also called your cardiovascular system (hence the name cardiovascular exercise) which includes your heart and lungs.
There are two types of cardio, you can either train aerobically, meaning with oxygen, or anaerobically, meaning without oxygen. Training using aerobically means training at a lower intensity for longer, these types of exercises are going to require a great deal of oxygen for the energy needed to perform for an extended period of time. These types of exercises are going to help you gain endurance. Examples include jogging, cycling, and swimming.
While anaerobically training is higher intensity for shorter periods, your body’s demand for oxygen is exceeding the oxygen supply available, this is why anaerobic means “without oxygen”. These types of exercises require short, quick bursts of energy during training. Anaerobic training is used more by athletes in non-endurance sports to build strength, speed and power. Examples include running, interval training, and heavy weight-lifting.
Why Is Cardio Important?
Working your cardiovascular system is crucial to keeping your heart and lungs healthy and keeping them working properly. This helps to keep your heart stronger so that it does not have to work as hard to pump blood, making it easier on your heart to move blood and oxygen around to your body.
Cardio exercise helps you to burn calories, lose weight, increase bone density, and has also been proven to reduce stress levels. Having a good working cardiovascular system along with these benefits helps to reduce your risk of heart attacks, high cholesterol, high blood pressure and diabetes.
Anaerobic types of exercise, cardio can help you develop stronger muscles and improve your cardio-respiratory fitness. Anaerobic workouts can help to increase your muscle mass, which also helps you to become leaner and manage weight, as muscles burn a large amount of calories even at rest.
The list could go on and on, but in simple terms cardio is not only going to help you look good, but feel good as well, along with the endless amounts of health benefits it provides.
How Much Cardio Should I Be Doing?
According to this article, “if your aim is to burn fat and lose weight, aim for at least 4 aerobic sessions per week. To maintain your current weight, aim for at least three sessions a week. Don’t forget to work in time for anaerobic exercise, or strength training as well.” These sessions should be lasting about 30 minutes. Anaerobic should be done about 2 or 3 times a week, as they are more tiring on your body with the high intensity. You can mix aerobic and anaerobic workouts, or alternate the days.
For example you can do an intense weight lifting session followed by a jog on the treadmill. Or do a high-intensity interval training on the treadmill one day, then a slower ride on the elliptical the following day.
Cardio Workouts to Try
- 400 calorie burning bike-elliptical-treadmill workout – try this one from a previous post to get in all your cardio machine fixes.
- Treadmill Workouts – FitSugar put together a printable handout of 4 different treadmill cardio workouts, with both aerobic and anaerobic workouts to try.
- Treadmill-Dumbbell Workouts – this workout from TreadmillCoupons.com combines the two aerobic with anaerobic, you can even increase your intensity and weight size for a more challenging workout.
- 45-minute Treadmill Trimmer – try this aerobic workout to burn fat, with the mix of the incline it helps tone the rear and burn more calories as well.
- 6 HIIT Treadmill Workouts – these are from blogger Nutrition Nut on the Run and they are sure to fill your anaerobic needs.
Cardio is crucial to any fitness or weight loss plan, even for those wanting to build muscle. Cardio helps us to burn calories while helping to strip away the fat hiding our muscles. It’s so beneficial to heart and lung health as well. So get out there and be sure to add a little cardio to your life!
Are you a fan of cardio? Do you prefer anaerobic or aerobic cardio?
What is your favorite way to get in you cardio workout?
Written By: Jentry