Cardio Workouts

Cardiovascular exercise, or “cardio,” is a pillar of a balanced exercise regimen. The word gets thrown around a lot, but it’s a short way of saying aerobic exercise. “Aerobic” refers to the requirement for oxygen. In fitness, cardio refers to physical exercises that increase your breathing rate as your body’s need for oxygen increases. It also gets your heart and blood plumping.

Classic examples of cardio exercise include walking, running, jump roping, swimming, and cycling. They can be low- or high-intensity, so most fitness routines can easily incorporate a style of cardio exercise.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How can you increase your cardio endurance?

    Endurance is the ability to ensure physical exercise or withstand physical exertion for a prolonged period of time. Improved endurance is a benefit of cardio exercise. Many aerobic athletes want to increase their endurance, such as running or swimming longer distances. Over time, your endurance will naturally improve. Some ways to actively work on this include incorporating intervals like sprints, decreasing your recovery time, and keeping your routine varied.

  • Should you do cardio before or after strength training?

    If your routine contains both cardio and strength training, you may wonder which to do first on the same day. There is no right answer to this age-old question. One way to figure out which works best for you is to determine your goals. If your goal is to build strength, consider strength training before cardio. If your goal is to improve your overall performance, consider doing cardio before strength training.

  • How long should a cardio workout be?

    Roughly 150 minutes of cardio exercise per week is recommended for most people. If you exercise five times per week, each cardio workout would be about 30 minutes. If you exercise three times per week, this would be about 50 minutes per workout. However, your 30 or 50 minutes of cardio exercise don’t have to be performed in succession. You can split them up, such as doing a 15- or 25-minute walk or jog in the morning followed by a 15- or 25-minute bike ride or swim in the evening.

  • What should your heart rate be during cardio?

    Your heart rate should be higher during exercise than at rest. However, it shouldn’t be too high. Here is how to determine your target heart zone and the maximum your heart rate should be. Your target heart rate should be 50 to 85 percent of your maximum heart rate. The American Heart Association has a helpful chart based on age.

  • What does cardio do for your body?

    Cardio directly affects your heart health. It makes it stronger and reduces the risk of heart disease. Aerobic exercise burns calories, which can help with losing weight or maintaining a healthy weight. It’s beneficial for mental health, such as stress and anxiety disorders. Cardio exercise can also help enhance sleep quality, which contributes to overall health.

  • How much cardio is too much?

    Love cardio? Then it may be easy for you to go overboard. Despite the benefits of cardio, too much of anything, including overtraining yourself, can be a bad thing. While there is no recommended upper limit of cardio per week, you can push yourself too hard if you do more than the recommended 150 minutes of cardio exercise per week. Cardio releases endorphins. The endorphins can become addicting, possibly creating an unhealthy obsession with exercise.

Key Terms

Page Sources
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