With increasing instances of heart disease and growing awareness for maintaining optimal body weight, cardio workouts have become an important facet of fitness regimen schedules. . The American College of Sports Medicine recommends that cardio activities be done 3 to 5 times per week for 30 to 45 minutes. In fact cardiovascular activities are at the heart of most outdoor exercises and sports such as tennis, golf, skiing, basketball, volleyball, boxing and hiking. In fact, the release of endorphins and mood enhancing hormones can be an antidote for those suffering from depression.
Cardiovascular workout is any type of exercise that increases the work of the heart and lungs An exercise routine or workout is cardiovascular in nature if it elevates your heart rate to nearly 60 - 85% of its maximum rate. Good examples of cardiovascular workout activities are walking, running, swimming, biking, aerobic dance, step aerobics, kick-boxing, rowing and jumping rope. Vary your cardio workout regimen with different speeds, inclines, distances and heights. Combining several cardio exercises in a workout session helps ward off boredom.
Swimming - Aquatic exercise is ideal cardio workout for those suffering from orthopedic problems. Steady swimming movements help in working out the muscles of the legs, back, hip and abdomen.
Step Aerobics - This aerobic activity targets the butt, hips and legs and can help in burning 400 calories in a half-hour workout session.
Cycling - Cycling is a favorite cardio workout with many. You can cycle outside and breath in the fresh air or have a cardio workout at home on an exercise bike. Work your legs at around 230 - 500 in 300 minutes.
Elliptical Training - You can use an elliptical trainer to burn calories - an excellent cardio-vascular workout. This exercise routine offers the same cardio workout as running but is easier on the knees and ankles. You can increase or decrease the resistance to get the benefits of different cardio workouts in one session.
Running - Running is a cardio workout activity that helps you burn many calories. But it carries the risk of injury. Walking can give you the same cardio benefits running does, if you walk with the right intensity.
Best Cardio Workout
Each one has their individual preferences for cardio workouts, be it running, swimming, walking or bicycling. Enjoy the benefits of a cardio workout with sustained activity for about 20 minutes or more. If you are considering running, begin with about 20 minutes but slowly work your body up to a 30 - 45 minutes workout. It will keep your heart in good condition. The efficiency of a cardio workout is measured in RPE (Rate of perceived exertion) and heart rate. You can check your heart rate by counting your pulse beats in 15 seconds and multiplying it by 4. RPE is measured on a scale of 0 - 10 where 2 is a warm up stage while 10 is a stage when conversation is impossible.
Embarking on a cardio workout soon after a full meal can be counter productive since the digestive process reduces oxygen and nutrient supply to the working muscles. It may result in gastric discomfort. Do not eat for an hour after your cardio workout so as to enable your body to shed excess fat. Embarking on a cardio workout first thing in the morning is considered ideal for burning calories. The body starts burning stored fat and you can see better results. Your metabolism gets revved up immediately after your morning cardio workout and elevated throughout the day.
This will help in burning more calories and weight loss. But this theory is scoffed at by those who insist that majority of fat that is burned occurs in the two hours after your workout as your core body temperature returns to normal. The best cardio workout is one that works your target heart rate at the higher end. It helps the entire cardiovascular system to become stonger and burns fat too. Some cardio exercises burn more calories than others. Skipping, jogging and elliptical machine are some of them.
Over the years, cardio workouts have come in for a lot of attention. These exercises elevate your heart rate to about 50% of maximum level and use large muscle movements over a sustained period of time. The benefits of cardio workouts are many:
- Improve and increase heart and lung efficiency
- Reduced risk of heart disease
- Lower LDL cholesterol
- Increase HDL cholesterol
- Reduce blood pressure
- Burn calories
- Lower body fat
- Increase bone mass and muscle tone
- Reduced risk of osteoporosis
- Increased stamina
- Decreases depression and anxiety
Avoid weights and cardio workouts on the same day. If you must do both, get into your cardiovascular workout after you are done with the weight training. Do not forget to stretch and warm up before the cardio workout. Let the body tissues warm up before they are worked out. Similarly, allow for a cool-down time with some mild stretching. Always check with a health professional before undertaking any exercise. Start off gently and work your way to better fitness levels. Breath well during the cardio workout to supply your muscles with oxygen.
Cardio Workout at Home
You can work on 2 or 3 different machines for about 10 - 15 minutes for variation and variety. Choosing the right equipment for cardio workouts at home is critical. One of the options for a cardio workout at home is getting yourself a treadmill. Exercise bikes are also popular cardio workout equipment for home gyms. Exercise bikes are safer than tradmills in that you can fall off a treadmill. It is easy to get distracted by a movie or music and fall off a treadmill track. A treadmill can be put severe orthopedic stress on your ankle and knee joints.
But a treadmill gives you a cardio workout at home that can shake off more calories than an exercise bike. While a person can burn nearly 750 calories per hour on a treadmill, an exercise bike will help shed off nearly 550 calories in an hour. Relieve yourself of the boredom of a cardio workout at home by listening to music or watching a good movie on DVD. Program your exercise bike into various routines, depending on your fitness level. You can select sprint or even pedal uphill. In this way you can format the cardio workout to your needs.
Give yourself a full body workout with a rowing machine. Home gym cardio workouts are convenient and reduce the hassles of driving and spending time away from home. It is critical to plan your cardio workout at home to suit your fitness level. Low impact cardio exercises include swimming, walking, inline skating, stationary bike and elliptical machine. You can go in for cardio workouts at home sans exercise machines too. Try running, jogging and skipping. Drink plenty of water before, during and after exercise. Dress appropriately and ensure that you are clear with how to use various equipment.