Posted on February 28, 2020 by Josh Puttock

The word ‘cardio’ is probably one of the first words you hear when you start an exercise program. It can be an essential component of any workout regardless of your goal.

The NHS suggest that we should do at least 150 minutes of moderate intense activity a week or 75 minutes of vigorous activity to reduce health risks. So, what are the differences? Getting a deeper understanding of cardiovascular exercise may give you that little nudge to try something new today!

Cardio-based exercise by definition.

Cardio exercise simply means that you’re doing a rhythmic activity that raises your heart rate into your target heart rate zone. Episodes of 10 minutes here and there will contribute toward your weekly cardio minutes.

Benefits of cardio.

When you realise just how beneficial cardio exercise can be, you might think differently towards it. And we wanted to list a couple of the benefits.

  • It makes your heart strong so that it doesn’t have to work as hard to pump blood.
  • It increases your lung capacity.
  • It helps reduce your risk of heart attack, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, and some forms of cancer.
  • It makes you feel good, and can even provide temporary relief from depression and anxiety.
  • It helps you sleep better.
  • It helps reduce stress.
  • Weight-bearing cardio exercise helps increase your bone density.

Another great thing about cardio is that you don’t have to workout for an hour at a high-intensity to get the benefits – a little goes a long way. A 15-minute walk outside can boost your mood, help lower blood pressure and mean you absorb that all important vitamin D (providing the weather is good of course!) and help lower blood pressure.

Choosing a cardio exercise.

The first step in setting up a program is to figure out what kind of activities you’d like to do.

The trick is to think about what’s accessible to you, what fits your personality and what you’d feel comfortable fitting into your life.

If you’re in the gym, the treadmill, cross-trainer, rower and bike are all great choices. And let’s not forget about swimming! If your local gym has a pool, hop in and start doing those lengths. Swimming is a great way to get that heart pumping.

It might be a process of trial and error, but that’s okay. It’s part of the journey and experiment we all have to take part in. If it doesn’t work, move on to something else. We all have to start somewhere.

Tips and tricks for choosing your cardio workout.

  • There is no ‘best’ cardio exercise.
  • Do something you enjoy.
  • Choose something you can see yourself doing at least two-three days a week.
  • Be flexible.
  • Keep it simple.

By Amy Cousins – Health & Fitness Blogger