The Collegian
Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Health & Fitness: Cardio - Get Physical!

CARDIO - GET PHYSICAL!

Aerobic exercise or "Cardio," as it's commonly referred to, is when the body engages in physical activity and the heart rate is elevated.

Cardio is a core requirement for any workout plan that focuses on good health, weight loss or the achievement of special fitness goals.

If you're wondering what the hype is about cardio workouts, you must be educated on this form of exercise.

Cardio is important for so many reasons, the top reasons being that it:

* Helps to keep the heart strong

* Raises metabolism and promotes calorie burn and weight loss

* Increases lung capacity (important for endurance)

* Reduces stress and releases endorphins to make you feel good!

Let's break things down. Ask yourself: What type of cardio will I do, how long do I need to do it and how often?

Type of cardio

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When considering what type of cardio to engage in, consider what you have access to, your interest and comfort level.

Find a cardio workout that fits your accessibility, personality and flexibility. It's important to do what you enjoy so that you can sustain the good habit of working out.

Try sports, gym machines, calisthenics (little to no equipment needed), dance, recreation or outdoor activity. Don't hesitate to give new and unconventional cardio styles a try.

Break the stereotypes: If you're a guy, don't be afraid to try a group exercise cardio class and if you're a girl, don't be intimidated by intensified cardio workout styles.

Cardio time

So you've decided on what form you want your cardio exercise to take. Now, think about how long you will work out. Cardio duration is dependent on your fitness and health goals as well as your current level of fitness.

For example, a marathon runner can sustain cardio exercises longer than someone without training and someone training to run a 5K race should aspire to practice running a 5K at least once before the race.

With cardio, it is more important to initially tackle exercise duration rather than worrying about exercise intensity.

Beginners should shoot for at least 20 minutes of cardio exercise and should quickly build to longer durations in order to reap the health benefits of cardio.

Prioritize

Make the time to tend to your fitness goals. Yes, some professional athletes may be naturally adept at their trade sport, but that skill is not absent of the time commitment most of them devote to improving their skills and working on their weaknesses.

Practice making exercise a priority and match your behavior with the significance of your goal. Remember to schedule your workouts and treat them as if they are important. Such diligence may make it easier to remain on your workout plan.

Seek help from a trainer, if needed, so that someone else is a part of making your fitness goals significant. It is important to remember that too much of a good thing is not a good idea.

This is especially true with cardio, so keep the workout practical, vary your intensity and monitor your frequency to three to six days, taking note of your fitness level and goals.

Frequency

Frequency relies on your schedule, lifestyle, fitness level and goals. Sow what you expect to reap. Leave room for break days which can be just as important as cardio work days. Here are the guidelines:

* To maintain current fitness level: 2-4 days a week (at least 20 minutes)

* To lose weight: 4 or more days a week (at the very least, 30 minutes)

* To train for a triathlon: Lots, but with rest and recovery days

Balance is key

While cardio is important, be sure to balance workouts with strength training and toning to make it all worth it! Building muscle makes burning fat more efficient and effective.

By lifting moderate weights you can burn about eight to 10 calories a minute compared with cardio. Running and cycling both burn about 10 to 12 calories a minute.

Cardio burns more, but strength training sustains the burn longer. Muscles need more energy to maintain themselves so the more muscle you have, the more energy you will typically have to expend daily, increasing resting metabolism.

To make the most of your workouts, couple your cardio with some strength training time to maximize your exercising efforts!

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