One of the best-kept secrets of having a great physique at any age is to keep up a regular cardio workout routine. The benefits of cardio are numerous. This is why, for instance, many weight loss coaches and doctors recommend cardio to the people who consult with them. Here are some of the health and lifestyle benefits of doing cardio.
Heart health benefits
The heart is the engine that drives the human body, and cardio helps maintain circulatory health. Doing cardio regularly can help you shed the pounds and keep them off, plus scientists have discovered that during a cardio workout, the body releases endorphins which stimulate the body’s reward systems. This means that while the workout itself might be hard work, you will end up feeling better than someone who opted for something easy.
Below, we look at cardio exercise selection in detail.
Basic Cardio for Beginners
At the beginner level, you will want to start off with something light that eases you into working out routinely. Cardio has a reputation as a hard type of exercise to do, but this is because some people want to jump in at the deep end right away. The guys and girls you see running 20 miles in one go have worked up to that level.
If you are just starting, consider taking a brisk walk around the neighborhood. This is an easy routine to maintain because you do not have to go far from where you live to get your exercise in. If you can find a walking track or football field where you can walk up to 1 or 2 miles, that’s even better. However, an elliptical walking machine works just as well.
An Intermediate Cardio Routine
For those who have been at it for a while, more options open up for cardio. Once you can run a mile or more at one stretch, you can consider making it a routine to run a couple of miles during the week. You can also add new types of cardio.
For example, you could cycle around a track or a stationary exercise bike. With cycling, you should be aiming to hit speed of around eight miles per hour to 12 miles per hour. If you are new to cycling, it’s best to use an indoor stationary bike without the distractions of navigating road traffic. It’s also safer.
Playing high-intensity sports like tennis, soccer, and basketball will also give you a good cardio workout at the intermediate level of training.
Cardio for Advanced Workouts
Once you’ve been actively doing cardio for more than six months and have mastered a good routine, you may expand your workout even more. At this level, you will have developed your own tastes and knowledge of what cardio works best for you. For example, some advanced athletes absolutely hate running. Forcing them to do running for their cardio would be counterproductive when there are so many other ways to put them through the paces.
You may want to consider swimming laps around an Olympic-size swimming pool. If you do not have a pool at home, you should be able to find one at the local YMCA or athletic center. You may also consider attending martial arts classes, which allow you to get in a cardio workout in the context of practicing a fascinating martial art. These are all ways to take away the drudgery from cardio for high-performance athletes.
Cardio for Medical Rehabilitation
There are times when a medical doctor may recommend that you do cardio for medical rehabilitation. When cardio has been prescribed by a doctor, it’s important to follow the instructions to the letter. For example, if you have a heart problem and the doctor has indicated you to do only light cardio, make sure you don’t do strenuous workouts. A little light walking or jogging, as prescribed, will suffice.
Likewise, if you are to do cardio to alleviate weight gain, follow the instructions of your medical doctor in order to achieve the best results.
Avoiding Injuries During Cardio
Despite our best efforts, sometimes, injuries happen. It’s a fact of working out, and cardio is no exception. You should plan for safety in your cardio workouts. One of the best ways to avoid injuries is to always stretch the body and significant muscle groups just before each workout. Stretching exercises the muscles, gets them moving, and avoids sudden stress being placed on the parts of the body.
With cardio, if you feel heartburn or any kind of pain in your chest, it could mean you’ve overworked yourself. Especially at the beginner level, this is one problem to watch out for. You may need to take a break and come back to the arena when your body has recovered from the previous day’s workout.
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