Ever felt winded climbing the stairs to your office, felt too tired to run around with your children or grandkids, or felt like lying down after doing something as minor as walking to your neighbor’s? Chances are you are in desperate need of some cardio exercises to get that oomph back in your routine.
What is a Cardio Exercise?
Cardio exercise or aerobic exercise are activities that promote the increase of heart rate and promote increased use of oxygen to improve overall body condition. By definition, it should increase heart rate by at least 50% and maintain it for at least 10 min . While engaging in these activities, not only the heart rate but also your body improves its blood volume, breathing capacity, oxygenation of the blood, muscle blood flow, and cardiac strength.
Benefits of Cardio
Not just to reignite your lost energy, but anyone can benefit from adding some cardio exercises to their life to,
- Lose weight
- Increase stamina, strength, and fitness
- Boost immunity
- Prevent or manage chronic diseases like hypertension, diabetes, and dyslipidemia
- Strengthen the heart
- Elevate the mood
- Age healthily and independently
- Prolong life
The American heart association recommends 150 minutes of moderate or 75 minutes of high-intensity aerobic exercises a week for a healthy adult. This means at least 30 minutes of exercises spread over five days.
When we consider exercises, they may be categorized according to intensity as above as moderate or high .
Some moderate-intensity activities are,
- Brisk walking
- Water aerobics
- Cycling below 10 mph
Some high-intensity activities are,
- Hiking uphill
- Aerobic dancing
- Jump rope
Another mode is to classify according to impact , which is by how you bear your weight.
High impact cardio is when at a point of exercise, both your feet leave the ground. Examples being
- Jump rope
- High-intensity aerobic dancing
Low impact cardio is when always one of your feet is on the ground. Examples being
- Aerobic dance
No impact cardio is when you don’t bear your weight or you do not feel the effect of gravity. Examples being,
- Upper body exercises on machines like rowing, handcycle.
- Water aerobics
What suits you?
What exercise fits you depend on your age, fitness level, and, more importantly, your schedule and home environment.
For starters, it is important to start with low-intensity exercises for smaller durations of time. As you feel fit, you can increase your level and duration.
When it comes to your home environment, try to use your facilities to your advantage. If you live in a scenic neighborhood, go for a walk or a hike. Live in the city, use a treadmill or jump rope at home. Have a pool close, then go for a swim. Live in an apartment complex use the stairs for a hike.
When it comes to your schedule, try to squeeze in even 10 minutes of exercise as you can whenever you can, it is not when you do it but that you do it which is important. Be creative, for example, try walking to your work, work a little far away, face the hassle of traffic, and then use a bicycle. Use the stairs, not the lift. Opportunities are endless if you think outside the box.
For those who can’t walk, being either disabled or injured for a while, still there are good upper body workouts to choose from . Some being,
- Handlike or handcycle
- Bouncing a basketball between you and a wall
- Airplane arms
Cardio exercises are important for your health. We all find excuses to neglect them, but as we can see, it is easy to be creative and make our schedules and environment work for us. As always, what matters most is that you get a proper workout.
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- Cardio Exercise – Harvard Health. Harvard Health. https://www.health.harvard.edu/exercise-and-fitness/cardio-exercise. Published 2021. Accessed December 10, 2021.
- What Is Cardiovascular Exercise? Fyzical.com. https://www.fyzical.com/lakewoodranch/blog/What-Is-a-Cardiovascular-Exercise. Published 2021. Accessed December 10, 2021.
- Team P. The Top 5 Chair Cardio Exercises. Passionate People by Invacare. https://www.passionatepeople.invacare.eu.com/the-top-5-chair-cardio-exercises-you-can-do-from-your-chair/. Published 2021. Accessed December 10, 2021.