Cardio is the short form of cardiorespiratory training. It is an essential part of all workouts be it to remain fit, get healthy, or to lose weight. The cardiorespiratory system called the cardio consists of the heart and the respiratory system. Together they are called the circulatory system. It consists of the heart and blood vessels and works in tandem with the lungs. These two systems work together and transport oxygen to the various organs of the body and the muscles. They are also useful in the exchange of gases and the removal of waste products. A fitness enthusiast or not, you would probably be knowing that doing cardio exercises on a regular basis is good for the heart. Health experts and medical practitioners recommend cardio for at least 150 minutes a week. Read more to know everything about cardio and cardio exercises. The circulatory system carries nutrients, blood, and waste through the body. The circulatory system consists of: Heart (Cardio): It acts as a double pump. The blood needs oxygen and this comes to the heart which gets pumped into the lungs. The second pump of the heart sends oxygen-rich blood to the various parts of the body. Lungs: It works with the heart to provide oxygen-rich blood to all the cells of the body. It also helps in removing waste by collecting carbon dioxide and other waste out of the body through breathing. Arteries, coronary, and veins: These are used to transport blood to all various parts of the body.
Cardio exercises are activities that help in maintaining the rhythmic activities of the heart. Cardio for fat loss is also commonly done by people. The pulse is used to measure the number of times the heart beats in a minute. The pulse rate is affected by the current activity performed by the individual. When sleeping or in a resting state the heart is pumping at a resting heart rate. When you are active, all the body systems are in use and the pulse rate is higher and helps to burn more calories and also needs more oxygen. The muscles will also need more fuel which means more work for the heart. Thus any exercise that can raise your heart rate and makes you breathe more is called cardio. When you are doing cardio exercise one should think of engaging all the major muscle groups. That means the body needs more oxygen which in turn increases the heart rate and respiration.
Cardio is an important component in any workout program be it at a gym or at home. It is also essential for the overall health of the individual. If you are of the belief that cardio can be done only at the gym, that is not right! There is no need to spend hours at a gym to maintain your health. Effective cardio exercises can be done at home even if you do not have a lot of space or any equipment. Since the main aim of cardio is to increase the heart rate, even simple brisk walking or running at home can be your cardio exercises. There are many cardio exercises at home like a dance workout, exercise to reduce the weight that can be done without much professional assistance. Pilates, weight loss workouts or even lean muscle exercises are available through various resources that can be practised at home. Cardio workout benefits can also be got from anything like swimming, running, hiking, biking, or any activity that makes you breathe more and increase your heart rate. They are also considered effective exercise to reduce belly fat.
Most individuals can do cardio exercises at home or at a gym without any problems. But ensure that it is effective and safe for you. Include warm-up before you reach the target intensity and also draft a cool-down period after the end of the cardio exercises at home. Also, ensure that you give time to repair the muscles and alternate long sessions with easy ones or give a day of rest.
It is safe for most people to do cardio exercises. Speak to your healthcare provider before doing cardio if you have had: Recovering from a surgery Recovering from accidents Injuries that prevent even slow walking For all others, before you begin high-intensity cardio exercises at home or at a gym start with a beginners program and then gradually increase the intensity. Have a good posture and follow proper technique to prevent injuries and strains. The same cardio exercises for women and men can be done.
Below is the list of the best cardio workouts that can be done anywhere and at any time. Jumping jacks Burpees Crab walk High knees Mountain climbers Doing a cardio workout at home does not need any fancy equipment. A fitness routine that includes a variety of exercises to burn calories, or to build muscle, or to get fit can be added. Some cardio workouts that can be done are: Jumping Jacks It is a cardio workout at a home exercise without the need for any equipment. It can also be integrated into HIIT workout or cardio for fat loss or any other exercises. Moreover, it can be done anytime and at any place and hence considered among the best cardio exercises. It is also considered among the safe cardio exercises for women. Steps: Stand with your legs together, knees slightly bent, and place hands on the thighs. With knees slightly bent, open the legs and arms to the sides. The arms should come over the head and keep the legs wider than the shoulders. Bring the arms and legs back to the sides and return to the start. Reps: Every 10 minutes you do, you will burn 100 calories. Burn more calories when you work harder on it. Also, add variations like froggy jumps, Plyo jacks, push-up jacks, etc for a more intense workout. Goals: It is among the most efficient full-body cardio workouts that are a combination of resistance and aerobic exercise. It works on the muscles, lungs, and heart at the same time. It is also the best cardio exercise at home. Burpees It is another effective exercise that is part of all cardio workouts at home or at a gym. It can be included as part of your HIIT cardio workout. This is one of the cardio exercises that need little space and no equipment and can be done at home. It is among the best cardio exercises for weight loss. Steps: Start with knees bent, back straight, and feet shoulder-width apart. Lower the palms to the floor and place them in front of you but inside the feet. Put the weight of your body in your hands and place your feet back so that you are in a push-up pose. Do one push-up and jump in the air and back to the start. Repeat the same Reps: Do 30 to 60 seconds of burpees in every 3 to 4 minutes of cardio workouts. One can also do 8 to 10 reps in a row and take a break before starting another set. It is the best cardio exercise to lose belly fat at home and the more sets you do the better. Goals: The main benefit of including this as part of your cardio workouts is that it offers full-body exercise. It is cardio for weight loss. Burpees can help in maintaining the heart and lungs healthy. It is also ideal for including it in the routine of cardio exercises for women. High Knees The high knees are among the easy but effective cardio workouts that can increase the heart rate and also provide various other benefits. These can be done with no equipment and at home. Steps: Start with your feet apart and raise your right knee to the chest. Switch to the other knee and take it to your chest, Alternate between the legs with a continuous movement. You can get into a running or sprinting pace in this exercise. Reps: Beginners should start with 3 to 5 sets of 10 reps. One can also use a timer and do multiple sets of timed intervals. Include variations of these in your cardio workouts. Goals: By performing this exercise, you can get your heart rate increased, strengthen the muscles in your legs, and also see an increase in flexibility and coordination. Mountain Climbers This is another simple cardio workout that works on all the muscle groups. It is a versatile exercise that works as cardio as well as a bodyweight exercise. Steps: Go to a plank position keeping the hands under your shoulders and feet at hip distance. Ensure that your head, core, and toes are in a straight line. Bring your right knee towards the chest and tap your toes to the floor. Push the right knee back and go back to the plank. Repeat the same on the other knee and speed up as you move along. Reps: Beginners to this exercise should do 1 02 2 sets of 8 to 10 repetitions. Once you are comfortable with this exercise the sets and the reps can be increased. Goals: It is a full-body workout that is suitable for everyone. It is an efficient workout and helps in increasing heart rate as well as burn more calories and hence among the best cardio exercises for weight loss. Crab Walk This is a fun exercise and is also among the best cardio exercises with many benefits. It is an intense exercise too that needs body resistance. It is also cardio for weight loss. Steps: Sit on the floor with your feet at hip-distance apart. Put your arms behind the back, fingers facing hips, and lift yourself up. Keep the knees bent, feet flat, and walk backwards using the legs and arms. The body weight should be distributed evenly between your arms and legs. Keep walking backwards until you reach the desired distance. Reps: 30 secs to a minute of crab walk without stopping is the best way to start this workout for beginners. Rest for a few seconds and repeat for a few sets. Goals: Crab walks are a good upper body workout that improves your balance. It gets your heart rate up and also tones the arms, legs, and abs apart from increasing focus and concentration.
Cardio is considered a beneficial form of exercise as it offers many benefits. It includes: Boosts cardiovascular health: The main benefits of cardio exercise is it helps in pumping blood effectively and also strengthening the heart. That, in turn, helps to lower blood pressure, reduce bad cholesterol, and increase good cholesterol. Reduces chronic pain: Low impact cardio exercises help in reducing chronic pain. The other benefits of cardio exercise include reducing weight, increasing endurance, and muscle functioning. Helps weight loss: Cardio for weight loss helps in getting rid of excess body weight and prevents obesity. Boosts immunity: Regular cardio can help in strengthening the immune system. It also helps in making more immunoglobulins which are antibodies in the blood. Reduces stress: A regular exercise which can be in the form of cardio can decrease stress and increase the production of happy hormones. That can provide temporary relief from anxiety and depression. Promotes better sleep: The benefits of cardio exercise done during the day can help in reducing chronic sleep issues. Cardio along with proper sleep hygiene is considered an effective treatment for even insomnia. Benefits skin: Including cardio in your workout sessions improves blood circulation. Benefits of cardio are not only for the internal organs but also for the skin. It helps in getting clearer and healthier skin making you not only look strong but also look and feel young.
There are a few disadvantages of doing too much cardio. It includes: Long sessions of cardio can do harm to your heart. Extended cardio training can stiffen the heart muscles as you push it too hard. When you do excess cardio exercises, it can impact the blood pumping as it stresses the right ventricle of the heart.
Do’s Do not leave your stomach empty before the workout A minimum of 30-minute cardio workout every alternate day or mix and match with other exercises. Cardio workout at home or at the gym should start with a Warm-up by stretching your muscles Get your heart rate moving before you do more intense exercises to get the benefits of cardio. If you are at a gym try all the available machines. Set goals before you start out Exercise regularly and do not give too long a break between your workout sessions. Include other exercises also as part of your cardio workouts. Don’ts Do not repeat the same routine when doing cardio at home or at a gym for more than a few days as it can lead to boredom. Do not go by numbers but set your target as per how you feel on a given day. Do not stop immediately after a high-intensity exercise, do some cool-down exercises. Do not rely only on gym pieces of equipment, one can also do cardio training at home.
The cardio workouts are such that there is no need for pieces of equipment especially if you are doing it at home. You can do cardio exercises with simple tools like: Jump rope Training shoes Staircase Dumbbells for weight training
Treadmill Elliptical Exercise bikes Rowing machines Step machines Air bike Spin bike Arc trainer
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