Tag Archives: weight loss

Cardio Activities

If you’ve considered taking up a more active lifestyle, you’ve most definitely heard of “cardio activities”. Cardio plays an important role in many fitness routines, and performing cardio exercise is a great way to keep your heart and body healthy. The best thing about cardio activities is that people at all fitness levels can perform them.

Aerobic or cardiovascular exercise is defined as any type of physical exercise, performed at moderate but increasing levels of intensity, over extended periods of time. The word “aerobic” means “with oxygen”; therefore, aerobic exercise refers to the body’s use of oxygen throughout the activity. Cardio exercises are aimed at increasing your heart rate, and can help you to effectively burn calories.

Most people immediately think of weight loss when considering cardio activities. While it is true that cardio and aerobic exercise will increase metabolism, and result in a loss of fat mass, there are other very important health benefits to consider. Taking part in cardio activities goes way beyond the average weight loss program.

Cardio activities and aerobic exercise can help to:

  1. Tone muscles throughout the body, resulting in improved blood circulation and reduced blood pressure
  2. Strengthen cardiovascular muscles to increase the pumping efficiency of the heart
  3. Strengthen respiratory muscles to promote smoother, unlabored breathing
  4. Increase the number of red blood cells, resulting in improved transport of oxygen throughout the body Regular and disciplined aerobic exercise can help to reduce the risk of developing cardiovascular diseases. Taking part in an active cardio exercise program also helps lower the risk of other health problems including respiratory disease and osteoporosis. Cardio activities are not limited to members of expensive fitness clubs. Some of the most common cardio exercises are:
  5. Walking: This is one cardio activity that you’re already doing, everyday! Walking is a very beneficial, low-impact exercise that can be done virtually everywhere. It is one of a few aerobics exercises that can be incorporated into any type of lifestyle, and best of all it’s free! A 15-30 minute walk around the mall will allow your body to lose as many calories as you would on a treadmill. You can increase your caloric and fat loss by increasing the pace and rhythm of your walks.
  6. Running and Jogging: Like walking, jogging and running can be done in many places. Plan a route through your neighbourhood, run around the park, jog along the boardwalk at the beach, or take to a track. Running and jogging are accessible, easy and free cardio activities. Before you begin, make sure that you’re body is ready. Beginners should begin with speed walking, and then gradually work up to a jogging or running routine. Running is a very natural activity for your body and you can easily work it into your regular exercise routine.
  7. Aerobic Dancing: In the 1970’s there was an explosion in aerobic activity through the Jazzercise program. The 1980s brought exercise gurus like Jane Fonda and Richard Simmons into the spotlight, and even brought exercise attire like headbands and legwarmers to the fashion runways. In the 1990s, aerobics lessons were led by supermodels and sold everywhere on video. The new millennium brought cardio activities like pilates and yoga. Over the past thirty decades aerobics dance exercises may have changed, but the excitement has not faded. People still love to work out to a hot beat, and aerobic dance moves are fun and effective ways to keep weight off and maintain a trim, toned body. Contrary to what many people believe, aerobic exercise is not limited to the uber-healthy. There are a variety of aerobic dance lesson styles to appeal to people of all fitness levels:
  • Low-impact: In low-impact aerobics, the dancer always keeps one foot on the ground. There are no bouncing or jumping movements that can cause joint pain. Low-impact aerobic exercise is ideal for people just starting out, for older people, and for those who cannot or should not move or jump around excessively.
  • High-impact: There is a great deal of jumping and complicated body movements in high-impact aerobics. For this reason, those with a little experience and a certain amount of agility and rhythm best perform these cardio activities.
  • Water aerobics: Cardio exercises done in the water are known as water aerobics. These are low-impact activities that are usually performed in waist-deep water, so some swimming ability is required.
  • Step aerobics: In step aerobics, a raised platform is used with a combination of body movements. “Stepping” movements are often used in both low and high-impact aerobics routines. Cardio activities are good for maintaining a healthy weight, and essential in keeping a healthy heart. Consider making regular cardio exercise part of your daily routine.

Choosing Aerobic Or Resistance Exercise For Health

It can be difficult to determine if your workout is sufficient to meet your health and weight loss goals. For many people, just making the effort to exercise for 20 minutes several days a week is good enough to provide them with basic fitness benefits. Others need a more rigorous aerobic training session to peak their heart rate and boost overall health.

Establish Your Training Goal

Everybody has different needs to optimize an exercise workout based on level of fitness and long term expectations. If weight loss is your goal, then its more important to extend the duration of your training session at a moderate intensity. Target 45 to 60 minute session 5 or 6 days per week, as this will kick start your fat burning metabolism and optimize your weight loss potential.

For those more interested in reducing risk from heart disease and improving overall health from their workout, experts recommend short burst resistance exercise routines. This type of exercise cross-trains the body in high intensity 2 minute intervals, incorporating 10 to 12 repetitions while covering all major muscle groups. Information provided by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) outlines the essential elements your fitness routine should include, regardless of your personal goal.

Punch a Fitness Time Clock

CDC experts suggest that youre engaged in some type of moderate level physical activity for 150 minutes each week or 75 minutes of more intense training. Moderate activities include brisk walking, mowing the lawn or cleaning the house, while jogging and running are examples of more intense activities.

Be sure to keep a record of your exercise sessions, as your training activities are cumulative. 150 minutes may sound like a lot, but when you break it down into 10 or 15 minute fitness chunks, youll find that the time goes by quickly. Spreading your exercise routine across multiple days and different times will also condition your body toward fat metabolism and weight loss.

Choose Cardio for Weight Loss

Cardio aerobic exercise gets you breathing harder and your heart beating faster. Not only does it provide protection from heart disease, but it increases metabolism, lowers blood sugar levels and assists in weight loss. If weight loss is your goal for training, its important to monitor your diet carefully, especially when first starting to exercise, as the body will send an unconscious signal to eat more in an effort to compensate for your increased energy expenditure.

Resistance Training for Toning and Health

Resistance exercises such as those incorporating free weights, fitness bands or the bodys own weight are excellent for body shaping, toning and improving general health. The condition of our muscular system determines the nature of our health and longevity, especially as we age so its essential to incorporate resistance training to maintain muscle tone.

Understanding the importance of exercise in achieving your physical conditioning and weight loss goals is an important first step. Once you determine a desired result, you can develop a fitness program which is best suited to your needs. Choose cardio aerobic training to maximize weight loss, resistance training to improve overall health, or a combination of both. Whichever route you take, youll benefit from the health stimulating benefits of a properly designed fitness routine.