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What Is Cardio, It’s Benefits And Some Of The Best Cardio Workout!!

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This single post is all you need to go through to understand what really cardio is, it’s awesome benefits and some of the best cardio workout!! So, let’s get started…

What Is Cardio?



Cardio- Cardiorespiratory fitness (CRF) refers to the ability of the circulatory and respiratory systems to supply oxygen to skeletal muscles during sustained physical activity.

The primary measure of CRF is V02max. In 2016, the American Heart Association published an official scientific statement advocating that CRF is categorized as a clinical vital sign and should be routinely assessed as part of clinical practice.

Regular exercise makes these systems more efficient by enlarging the heart muscle, enabling more blood to be pumped with each stroke, and increasing the number of small arteries in trained skeletal muscles. This helps supply more blood to working muscles.





How Cardio Works (The Mechanism)



Cardiac output (the product of heart rate and stroke volume which represents the volume of blood being pumped by the heart each minute) increases during physical activity due to an increase in both the heart rate and stroke volume. At the beginning of the exercise, the cardiovascular adaptations are very rapid:
“Within a second after muscular contraction, there is a withdrawal of vagal outflow to the heart. It is followed by an increase in sympathetic stimulation of the heart. This results in an increase in cardiac output to ensure that blood flow to the muscle is matched to the metabolic needs”.

Both heart rate and stroke volume vary directly with the intensity of the exercise performed and many improvements can be made through continuous training.



Another important issue is the regulation of blood flow during exercise. Blood flow must increase in order to provide the working muscle with more oxygenated blood which can be accomplished through neural and chemical regulation.

Blood vessels are under sympathetic tone; therefore, the release of noradrenaline and adrenaline will cause vasoconstriction of non-essential tissues. It includes liver, intestines, and kidneys, and decrease neurotransmitter release to the active muscles promoting vasodilatation.

Also, chemical factors such as a decrease in oxygen concentration and an increase in carbon dioxide or lactic acid concentration in the blood promote vasodilatation to increase blood flow.

As a result of increased vascular resistance, blood pressure rises throughout exercise and stimulates baroreceptors in the carotid arteries and aortic arch. “These pressure receptors are important since they regulate arterial blood pressure around an elevated systemic pressure during exercise”.

Although all of the described adaptations in the body to maintain homeostatic balance during exercise are very important, the most essential factor is the involvement of the respiratory system.

The respiratory system allows for the proper exchange and transport of gases to and from the lungs while being able to control the ventilation rate through neural and chemical impulses.

In addition, the body is able to efficiently use the three energy systems which include the phosphagen system, the glycolytic system, and the oxidative system.





Benefits of Cardio:



There are many benefits of cardiorespiratory fitness. It can reduce the risk of heart disease, lung cancer, type 2 diabetes, stroke, and other diseases. Cardiorespiratory fitness helps improve lung and heart condition and increases feelings of wellbeing.

Below are some major benefits of Cardio:



#1. Increased Metabolism



Another reason to perform cardio is for its effects on the metabolism. Along with speeding up your heart rate, cardiovascular exercise also increases the rate of various other processes in the body, also known as your metabolism.

Generally speaking, the more intense the cardio session, the more noticeable increase you will see with regards to your metabolic rate. Intense interval sprints (also known as HIIT) increase the metabolism; the highest with a process called EPOC (Excess Post-exercise Oxygen Consumption). Increased metabolism means an easier time maintaining your weight (or losing weight as the case may be).





#2. It promotes brain health



As you already know that physical exercise is good for the overall health and fitness of your body. A proper cardio exercise regime not only helps you to diligently attain your fitness goals but also it helps your brain to become sharper.

Cardio workouts have multiple positive effects on your brain functions, starting from the behavioral level to the molecular level. For example, it improves the blood flow and directs more oxygen to your brain. Additionally, it creates a nourishing environment for your brain cells to grow and thrive.




#3. It improves heart health


Your heart is a muscle and, just like any other muscle in your body, in order to remain in good health, it has to be worked. Failing to “work” your muscles, including your heart, weakens them over time, thus heightening your risks for various diseases.

Cardio exercise is an excellent way to get your heart pumping at a faster rate to keep it in proper shape and optimal health. Plus, cardio exercise lowers your LDL (bad) cholesterol.




#4. Improved Recovery Ability



Certain types of cardio exercise, usually lower, more moderately paced forms, can decrease your recovery time too. If you have just performed a hard session in the gym, hopping on the treadmill for a walk or light jog will help to remove some of the by-products that were created during the lifting session.

Building muscle mass is a combination of an overloading stimulus and sufficient rest to allow the muscle to heal itself. If you skew this balance either direction, either working out too much or providing too much rest in between, you aren’t going to get optimal results.

The more frequently you are able to work a muscle though (assuming full recovery has been achieved) the faster you will add additional new muscle. Cardio helps you do this. Just don’t take this too far as excess cardio or cardio done at such a high intensity that it places additional strain on the muscles is going to actually hinder recovery rather than aid it.



#5. It has physical benefits


Cardio exercises burn up calories, thus helping you shed those extra few pounds. It’s also perfect for toning your muscles and improving posture. Your increased stamina and greater energy will make you more productive overall.

Cardio exercise is a highly popular form of exercise — and for good reason. It’s linked with various health benefits that are well-documented. With regular exercise, both your physical and mental health will be improved, along with your sleep patterns and productivity.





#6. Improves Skin Health



Due to increased metabolism, the blood is circulated to all parts of the body. As a result, it helps you to clear complexion and improve the skin health. Dermatologist studies have shown that it makes skin healthy and flawless. So, if you are suffering from acne, pimples, and psoriasis, a good cardio session can help you protect skin.



Best Cardio Workout:



LEVEL: Beginner





#1. Walking {400 calories/hr}



Walking is an effective workout to blast fat and keep your metabolism revved.  According to fitness experts, walking is an excellent way to to get rid of excess fat on your legs. It is believed that brisk regular walking can prevent or help you lose belly fat. It decreases your risk of heart disease and other serious health problems that can affect your quality of life. 

While walking is low-intensity cardio that is considered best for getting rid of excess fat on your legs, the exercise is also a great tool for reducing visceral fat. However, you need to know the right technique in order to yield optimal benefits from this exercise.



The Right Way:


  1. The biggest mistake walkers make is bending forward, a sure way to develop problems in your lower back, neck, and hips. Your posture should be naturally tall. Relax your shoulders, widen your chest, and pull your abdominals gently inward. Keep your head and chin up and focus straight ahead.
  2. Your feet should land firmly, heel first. Roll through your heel to your arch, then to the ball of your foot, and then to your toes. Push off from your toes and the ball of your foot.




#2. Cycling {600 calories/hr}



Cycling is no doubt good for your body, says Anne Lusk, Ph.D., a research associate at Harvard School of Public Health in Boston. She studied more than 18,000 women over a period of 16 years and found that those who biked as few as five minutes a day gained less weight than those who didn’t ride.

It strengthens your lower body, including your legs, hips, and glutes. Do you know, a 135-pound woman can blast nearly 500 calories in an hour of cycling at a comfortable clip. And each pedal stroke works your entire lower body and your core, sculpting a tight body.


The Right Way:


  1. If you’re a beginner, choose a flat bike path or road. If you’re ready for a tougher workout that also engages your upper body and core, try mountain biking. It’s also called off-road biking. You can do it on trails and different types of rough terrain.
  2. Plan to get on your bike and ride for 30-60 minutes, 3-5 days a week.
  3. Start every ride with a warm-up. Pedal at a slow, easy pace for 5-10 minutes. Then boost your speed so you start to sweat. If you’re riding a stationary bike, simply change the settings for a faster pace.




#3. Jumping rope {600 calories/hr}



It’s harder for most adults than it is for kids, but that challenge makes it a very effective cardiovascular workout. According to Harvard Medical School Publications, a 125-pound person can burn 300 calories jumping rope for 30 minutes. A heavier person will burn more calories — around 372 for a person weighing 155 pounds, and 444 for someone who weighs 185 pounds.

Plus, the load placed on the bones causes them to adapt, becoming stronger and denser. This decreases the risk of fractures and age-related diseases such as osteoporosis.



The Right Way:


  1. To do jump rope intervals, jump vigorously for one minute, then recover at a slower pace for one minute and repeat the intervals for 20 minutes.
  2. You can also work intervals of jump roping into a circuit workout, in which you do different body weight and free weight exercises with bouts of jump roping worked in.
  3. Jump roping is a great cardiovascular workout, but it isn’t right for everyone. If you have joint issues, the impact may be too much and can exacerbate pain and inflammation.
  4. If you have a lot of weight to lose, jumping rope isn’t the best exercise to start with because of the impact.





#4. Running Stairs {600 calories/hr}



Stair climbing is a form of exercise anyone can do in their own home, after work, or during the lunch hour. A staircase is all you need to blast about 150 calories in 15 minutes.

Running stairs may be hard, but it’s a win-win workout. If you’ve got access to a set of them at a school track or outdoor venue, it’s a great way to mix things up with your regular exercise routine.

So, if you’re looking for a high-intensity workout that helps build speed, power, and cardiovascular fitness, stair running is ideal.



The Right Way:


  1. Sprint to the top of your stairs (depending on how many stairs you have, it should take about six to 10 seconds).
  2. Walk or jog back to the bottom (about 30 seconds). If you have knee issues, try walking down angled slightly sideways. (Going downstairs is actually harder on your knees than going upstairs.)
  3. Repeat for five sets total.
  4. Rest for two to three minutes, then repeat everything for two to three rounds total.




#5. Kettlebells {900 calories/hr}



Recently, you may have noticed more gyms and fitness pros pulling out the kettlebells, those ball-shaped weights with a big handle on top. While they can look a little intimidating if you’ve never used one before, kettlebells are actually great tools for getting a total-body workout.

Kettlebells are not only one of the most beneficial fitness equipment for strength training, but for cardio as well. If you want to burn fat and calories, improve your cardiovascular system and tone and strengthen your muscles, kettlebell cardio is definitely for you.



The Right Way:


  1. For experienced kettlebell users, a good starting weight is whatever you would use for a single-hand swing. However, if you’re a beginner, you’ll want to start with a lighter weight to get the form down and invest in a pair of forearm guards.
  2. There are multiple kettlebell cardio workouts but the easiest yet best cardio workout for beginners is Farmer’s Walk.




The American College of Sports Medicine recommends aerobic exercise 3-5 times per week for 30-60 minutes per session, at a moderate intensity, that maintains the heart rate between 65-85% of the maximum heart rate. 


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