Cardio Exercise for Health and Weight Loss

Cardio exercise, or aerobic exercise, is any repetitive activity that you do long enough and hard enough to challenge your heart and lungs. It strengthens your heart and lungs, burns lots of calories, reduces body fat, decreases your fatigue, enhances your sense of well-being, boosts your immune system and cleanses your body of toxins. This effect is generally achieved by using your large muscles, including your butt, legs, back, and chest.

Running GirlsWhen you exercise aerobically, your lungs extract oxygen from the air and deliver it to your muscles. Brisk walking, bicycling, swimming and stair climbing count as aerobic exercise.

Walking is the simplest, easiest, way to start a fat loss program. Walking briskly uphill (or on an inclined treadmill) is an excellent fat burning workout.

Cardiovascular exercise burns the layer of flab from your midsection. Abdominal fat loss is a 50% exercise/50% nutrition combination.

To prevent injuries you need to ease into any aerobic exercise with a warm up and ease out of it with a cool-down.

A warm-up means 5 to 15 min. of aerobic exercise at a very easy pace. It allows your heart rate to increase at a safe, gradual pace. Warmer muscles are less likely to tear and you tire more quickly if you don’t warm up.

A cool-down should last 5 to 10 min., or longer, if you’ve done an especially hard workout. If you are really out of shape or at risk for heart disease, skipping a cool down can place undue stress on your heart.

Useful tips:

  • To get fit and stay healthy you need to exercise at a moderate pace.
  • The simplest way to monitor how hard you’re working is talk. You should be able to carry on a conversation while you are exercising.
  • The most benefits (weight loss, body fat loss and reduction in size – waist circumference) are gained from combining a high amount of exercise with vigorous intensity.
  • The number of calories you actually burn depends on the intensity of your workout, your weight, your muscle mass and your metabolism.
  • In order to lose a pound in one week, you need to burn off 3,500 more calories than you eat. A 30-minute power walk on flat ground burns about 120 calories. So, to burn off 1 pound of fat by walking, you have to walk for more than 2 hours a day.
  • Don’t try to lose more than ½ pound to 1 pound each week, and don’t eat fewer than 1200 calories per day. On a super-low-calorie diet, you deprive your body of essential nutrients, and you have a tougher time keeping the weight off because your metabolism slows down.
  • You should aim for at least 45 minutes of exercise (a mix of cardio and strength training) six days per week.

Cardio exercise is only one part of a weight loss plan. You also need to revamp your eating habits and embark on a weight-training program.

“Running is an unnatural act, except from enemies and to the bathroom”.
-George Carlin

“The first time I see a jogger smiling, I’ll consider it”.
-Joan Rivers