Incorporating cardiovascular exercises (cardio) into your workout routines is an important factor in shaping a perfect body. There are many reasons and there is much scientific research to support the contribution which effective cardio development makes. Let’s find out what is a cardio workout and why it’s important.
What is a cardio workout and what advice on the most effective cardio exercises feature regularly in fitness articles. The prominence given to cardio exercising, on its own, highlights the importance of it. Depending on individual needs and personal goals, doing cardio is recommended before, after or instead of a workout.
Warming up is the thing to do before a workout. It warms your muscles up, increases your blood flow, raises your heart beat and ups your energy levels. In other words, it prepares your body for the demands of your workout. A 30 minute cardio is often regarded as a good warm up.
What is a cardio workout?
Broadly speaking, a cardio workout is “any physical activity that increases the heart rate and respiration while engaging large muscle groups repetitively and rhythmically”. It derives from the Greek word “kardia” which means heart which gives a clue to why doing cardio is so important.
Why is cardio important?
By definition, the sole purpose of cardio is to increase the heart rate and respiration. That’s beneficial because it also means increased blood circulation. It means that more blood is going to the muscles cells delivering much needed oxygen and taking away metabolic by-products produced during exercise.
Cardio is highly recommended for its fat burning capabilities as well. The abs area in particular is covered in a layer of fat. Doing cardio every other day helps burn the fat and reveal the perfect six pack.
Crosstrainers, stationery bikes and treadmills are all associated with cardio and regular features at the gym. If you are a gym member, you just need to make use of them.
There are plenty of effective alternatives for those who workout at home.
- Running is the classic cardio exercise. You can go for a run any time and pretty much anywhere without the need for a gym pass. All you need is a comfortable pair of trainers, a bottle of water and a good playlist on your smart phone or music player. For your safety, I also recommend a high visibility jacket or just a strap.
- Rope skipping is another easy to do at home (or in your garden or park) cardio exercise. You only need a skipping rope and comfortable trainers.
- If you have a bicycle and not keen on running much, you could go for a bike ride instead. Just remember to wear the appropriate safety gear, a bottle of water and a mobile phone (just in case).
Regardless of what cardio workout is best for you, you should always listen to your body. If you feel tired and ache, it would be better to skip or stop your cardio and give your body plenty of time to recover.