Cardio workouts otherwise known as cardiovascular, cardiorespiratory or aerobic exercise are when the body moves to the point where you increase your heart rate for a period of time. Aerobic means, “with oxygen”. Aerobic exercise is meant to improve the way that our bodies use oxygen to help improve our metabolism.
The American Heart Association recommends that you perform aerobic exercise 3-5 times a week for 20 -60 minutes a time at 60-90% of your maximum heart rate. The theory is that by raising the heart rate for a long periods at a time you will strengthen your muscles including the heart muscle and the muscles that help you breath. You will improve your circulation and the amount of red blood cells so that more oxygen can get to your body. Your mental health will improve making you more alert and happier. You will also reduce your risk of certain diseases such as heart disease and diabetes.
Types of cardio workouts are walking, jogging, and biking. Many gyms have several different types of cardio machines for use. These are elliptical machines, stair climbers, treadmills and stationary bikes. You can research online how many calories each burns. However I think counting calories is unnecessary. If you exercise on a regular basis you will be fine.
There are charts that shows you where your target heart rate should be when you are performing aerobic exercise. If you don’t want to keep track of your heart rate just make sure that you can carry on a conversation without much difficulty while you are exercising. If it is too hard to talk slow down a bit. If it is too easy try going a little harder.
I am going to be honest. I do not like to do aerobic exercise when I work out. I like to dance, ride my bike, and go for walks. If I get aerobic exercise by doing the things that I love, great! But I won’t do it just for exercise sake. What I do is called “Interval Training“. Please read the page on interval training for more information. I prefer it because it takes less time, I see results faster and it is more interesting.