Cardiovascular exercises are a great way to build endurance, lose weight, and keep your heart in tip top shape. There are several different types of cardiovascular training exercises but all of them focus on aerobic enhancement which means they train the body to be able to output energy over long periods of time at lower levels of intensity.
For example, being able to run a half marathon or riding a bicycle for 20 miles. It should be noted that before performing any cardiovascular exercises you should adequately warm up to avoid risk of injury. Static stretching is not recommended by health and fitness experts like it once was. The best warm-up is a walk or slow jog on the treadmill to get your muscles warmed up.
There are several types of cardiovascular exercises you can perform. Let’s take a look:
This is a great exercise for beginners and people who are not ready for more intense exercises. It’s also a great way for seniors to stay active and healthy. You will want to begin walking slowly for the first five minutes to get a good warm-up. Walking is a great low impact exercise and puts little stress on ligaments and muscles. A brisk walk can burn as many calories as jogging if done at a high enough intensity. To get the full impact you need to walk at a brisk pace for at least 30 minutes.
This is the most popular cardiovascular exercise because of its effectiveness and simplicity. Jogging should be avoided by people who are 40+ pounds overweight or those who suffer from knee problems. Jogging on a treadmill is a great way to start because of the minimal impact it has on the body compared to jogging on the road. It is also essential to wear quality footwear designed to cushion the foot. Good shoes should also not be too tight or restricting as this can cause shin splints and other problems. After a good five minute workout you should jog at a steady pace for at least 30 minutes for maximum impact. If you cannot it is okay to walk/jog for 30 minutes followed by a five minute cool down.
Rowing machines are a great alternative for those looking for a different cardio exercise or for people who cannot run or jog. Rowing is a great whole body workout and incorporates the upper body as well. Before rowing it is very important to get a proper warm-up because of the intensity of the exercise. To row properly make sure you maintain proper posture by keeping your back in an upright position.
Cycling is an excellent low impact cardiovascular exercise. It is also a great way to get the entire family involved by going on a family bike ride. Stationary bikes are also great to use when at the gym. It is important to make sure the seat is properly adjusted to the correct height. At the right height your leg will not quite be fully extended at the bottom of the down stroke. Begin slowly for five minutes to get the hamstrings, calves and quadriceps warmed up. For the next 30 minutes you can move at a steady pace or do interval training by increasing intensity for short periods followed by periods of low intensity. Either way you are sure to get a great sweat going.
Stair-stepping is a great workout especially because you can perform at such a high intensity without having the impact on your body like jogging. It’s great for overweight people or those who have knee and ligament issues. Begin each session with a 5-10 minute followed by 15-20 minutes of stair-stepping with a 5 minute cool down.
Swimming is an excellent non-weight bearing cardiovascular exercise that is a great option for seniors or those who are recovering from injury. Swimming is a great whole body exercise because you simply cannot swim without using virtually every muscle in your body. Swimming can be done exclusively or in between jogging sessions to minimize impact on the body.