If your goal is to become fit and healthy, then you need to be doing some type of cardiovascular exercise.
This is the type of exercise that gets your heart pumping. Examples are running, walking, cycling, swimming or rowing. In addition to keeping your heart and lungs healthy, cardio exercise will help you to burn off body fat.
Research confirms that regular cardio exercise helps to regulate the appetite, helping you to automatically stop eating once your body no longer needs calories.
Cardio exercise also conditions the heart and lungs, boosts your immune system and helps to prevent disease. Cardio improves blood flow through your arteries and even encourages your body to build new capillaries.
Because your blood carries energizing oxygen and nutrients to every cell in your body, cardio also gives you more stamina for everyday life.
A final benefit of cardio exercise is that it provides people with a fantastic mood boost. You could consider it to be natural medicine for the mind.
You should set the goal of performing three to four cardio sessions per week. Each session should last between twelve and sixty minutes, depending on your goals and your experience.
The longer the time you exercise, the more calories you will burn. A good average is to shoot for 30 minutes of cardio exercise per session, four times per week.
What Type of Cardio?
You should try to incorporate as much variety into your program as possible.
One day you might go for a 30-minute walk with your friends. On another day, you may choose to do a 30 minute YouTube aerobics session. Then, on the next day, you could run on the treadmill or exercise on an elliptical machine.
When you change up your workout, you will be able to target different muscle groups, increase your fat burning and boost your motivation.
So, what is the best form of cardio exercise?
The answer is the type that you will do – consistently.
Regardless of the type of cardio that you choose, so long as you get your heart rate up, you will benefit from this type of exercise.
When selecting your exercise of choice, though, focus less on the number of calories that each type of cardiovascular exercise burns and more on how you personally feel about each type of exercise.
The type that you enjoy the most will be the type that you do consistently. And consistency is the single biggest factor that leads to success.
Let’s now take a look at the various benefits that you will receive from each of several types of cardio exercise…
Walking is a great entry exercise for beginners. You hardly need any equipment or expertize to do it. In addition, the majority of people are able to walk without discomfort – this can be the factor that helps many people get into a regular pattern of exercise.
#2 Jogging / Running
Jogging burns more calories per minute than walking does, making it a very efficient fat burning workout.
To slowly progress from walking to jogging, add a one-minute jogging burst for every ten minutes of walking. Once you can do that, add two minutes, and then three until eventually, you are jogging for nine minutes with just one minute of walking.
#3 Swimming and Water Aerobics
If you have arthritis, bad knees, a bad back or any type of pain in general, the pool can be your best friend. Water takes the weight off your body, allowing you to move pain-free.
But above all, swimming is widely known to be the best form of cardiovascular exercise, and has so many physical and mental health benefits associated with it.
#4 Bike Riding
Whether you are on a stationary, spinning or road bike, cycling provides a great calorie burning workout.
Cycling helps tone your entire body, especially the belly, legs, and thighs. It is also easy on the knees. Above all, I think it’s a fun activity to do!
If you have a bad back or are overweight, consider buying a recumbent bike, which allows you to lean back as you pedal.
#5 Skipping Rope
This very challenging, efficient calorie-incinerating workout is perfect for people who can’t exercise outdoors because of weather or safety concerns but who also have limited space inside for movement.
If you have trouble coordinating your arms with your feet, start by skipping without the rope and then add the rope later. For variety, try small jumps, large jumps and jogging with the rope.
Look up some great rope workouts on YouTube to help you get started.
#6 Stair Climbing, Elliptical, and other Cardio Machines
Whether you use them at home or at the gym, exercise machines can make working out much more convenient.
Maybe you’ll like to watch TV or distract yourself as you work out on the stair climber, treadmill or rowing machine. These machines also allow you to exercise indoors during inclement weather.
Cardio on the ball
You can get a great cardio workout on a fitness ball.
A fitness ball allows you to perform everything from sitting and bouncing on the ball to ball taps, tummy tucks and ball jacks, which are basically bouncing jumping lacks from a seated position on the ball.
With a little imagination, you can incorporate a fitness ball into any traditional aerobic-dance move. And, with a little more imagination, you’ll be able to dream up a whole slew of new cardio on the ball options.
You can do these movements as your official cardio for the day, running through and repeating the series as necessary until you have completed 12, 24 or more minutes.
You can also intersperse these moves into your toning routine, creating a fun circuit workout that will keep your heart rate up the entire time.
This exercise requires a certain amount of trust. Just give it a try, but if you feel wary of this move, try it first on the carpet, which will hold the ball steady, or with the ball against a wall.
- Stand with your feet slightly wider than your hips. Place the ball about a foot behind your lower legs. Cross your arms over your chest.
- Inhale, bend your knees and sit back onto the ball. As soon as your hips touch the ball, exhale and rise to the starting position, as if the ball were too hot to sit upon. Do this slowly at first. As you get used to the motion, you can move more quickly. Repeat up to 12 times.
This challenging move will really boost your metabolism. It targets your lower abs.
- Start in a push-up position with your shins on the ball and your hands on the floor under your chest. Positioning the ball so that your thighs are against it makes the exercise harder. Firm your abs and lift your hips so that your back is flat.
- Exhale as you tuck your knees in towards your chest, moving the ball along the floor as you do so. Inhale as you return to the starting position. Continue to tuck and then uncoil up to 12 times.