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December 09, 2020 4 min read

With everyone working out from home these days, cardiovascular exercise is likely what most folks have turned towards to work off those extra quarantine pounds and stay active, and it’s likely you have as well. However, do you know how to perform cardio workouts the right way? Let's do some review to make sure you’re getting the most effective and safe workout possible.

What Is Cardio?

Cardiovascular exercise is defined as using the large muscles of your body in movement over a sustained period of time while keeping your heart rate at least 50-percent of its maximum level. With that definition, it should be key to keep in mind that the exercises you’re doing need to be about endurance and building stamina rather than pushing your muscles to their limits all at once. This includes exercise like walking or running, which seem very basic and easy, and this is partly why cardio exercise is so widely turned to as a beginner’s exercise of choice.

Furthermore, there are three major categories of cardiovascular exercise:

  • High-Impact Cardio – This includes any cardio exercise that, at any point, have both of your feet off the ground. This is called weight-bearing exercise where you’re supporting your own body weight against the force of gravity. This includes exercises like jumping rope or aerobic dance.
  • Low-Impact Cardio – This is any form of cardio where one foot remains on the ground at all times. However, this doesn’t mean it is a less intense exercise, and includes walking or hiking.
  • No-Impact Cardio – When cardio is performed in water, like when you’re swimming, the activity is considered no-impact because the water reduces the pull of gravity on your body.

Cardio Goals

Next, let's go over some of the specific benefits of cardiovascular exercise so that you know the goals you’re working towards or if your personal goals differ and you need to switch exercises.

  • Improved Hearth Health – Engaging in 30-60 minutes of cardio daily builds stronger muscles, which includes your heart. A stronger heart will improve your blood flow, control your blood pressure, and reduce the buildup of cholesterol. This further brings mental health benefits that lower stress and anxiety as you build up your self-confidence and improve your self-image.
  • Enhanced Brain Health – Continuing on the topic of your brain, getting regular cardio exercise is beneficial for strengthening regions of the brain that control memory and critical thinking skills. As you age, cardio will help prevent deterioration in the brain, allowing for improved and retained cognitive ability in elders.
  • Weight Regulation – Cardio increases heart rate to a “target” heart rate zone where your body burns calories the most efficiently. This is what makes cardio such an effective method of burning excess calories and regulating your weight. Cardio will also increase your metabolism, helping to suppress appetite and further burn calories.
  • Improved Immunity – With regular cardio exercise, your body releases more antibodies and white blood cells. This obviously helps your body fight off infection. A healthy heart will also prevent major diseases like diabetes, heart disease, or stroke.

Cardio Basics

Because cardiovascular exercise like walking or running seems so easy and simple to get into, it’s easy to neglect important details like warming up and cooling down, which could lead to injury. Warming up and cooling down are important when learning how to perform cardio workouts the right way. For a warm-up, use low-intensity exercises and stretches to loosen up your joints and warm up your muscles. When you are getting ready to move into your actual workout routine, start slowly. By pacing yourself and gradually moving into a more intense workout, you’ll give your muscles time to adjust and work at their full capacity for a better workout. Afterward, don’t just immediately stop, as that could lead to soreness and aches. Instead, much like how you gradually increase exercise intensity, you should also gradually decrease the intensity as you end your workout. If you went for a run, end your workout with a 5–10-minute walk—and doing some extra stretches doesn’t hurt either.

Cardio Frequency

To get the most out of cardio exercise, you should make time to perform your exercise routine three to five days a week. You want to be able to commit to your exercise, as sticking to a consistent schedule and completing the full exercise is one of the hardest hurdles to overcome. However, you also need to give yourself days off to let your muscles rest and repair. If you work out every single day with the same intensity, you’ll see very little or diminishing returns in your progress, as your muscles never get a chance to grow. You’ll also potentially just be injuring yourself.

Cardio Duration

An average cardio routine should be, at minimum, 30-60 minutes in order to get an effective workout and reap the benefits. Remember that cardio is about endurance and building stamina, so you want to push yourself to continue exercising for longer rather than harder. You don’t need to sprint the full half-hour; a consistent jog or brisk walk will be just as good.

Cardio Supplements

Perhaps one of the most key parts of doing cardio exercises correctly, you must practice some variation in your exercise. Doing the same exercises over and over cannot only get monotonous, but you’ll only be working out the same specific muscles. You don’t have to dive into bench pressing, however; you need only look into other forms of aerobic exercise that focus on different muscle groups so that you’re getting a well-rounded exercise routine. This will also allow you to continue working out, as you can work on a different group of muscles while another group rests and repairs. In order to get this kind of varied workout at home, take a look at Precor Home Fitness’ functional trainers for sale, as these machines are ideal for allowing a wide range of exercises in an all-in-one machine to save on money and space within your home. These machines are adjustable so that you can hit different muscle groups and compensate for any aspects that are lacking in your exercise routines.How To Perform Cardio Workouts the Right Way


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