Sometimes, it is gross how some people simply say, “this exercise burns muscle” or “if you exercise on an empty stomach your body is forced to burn fat”. They really don’t know a thing about cardio, let me cut the bull out of it and tell you what.
Cardio is short for cardiovascular exercise, which encompasses any exercise that benefits the heart. This was used mainly to refer to aerobic training but research suggests that weight lifting also benefits the heart so it’s not isolated in those colorful dances anymore of bygone years. To put is simply, Cardiovascular exercise means that you’re involved in an activity that raises your heart rate to a level where you’re working, but can still manage to talk.
The reason why cardio is so important is because it’s one way to burn calories and help you lose weight as wells. At the same time, it makes your heart strong as well as increases your lung capacity. In line with this, you are bale to reduce risk of heart attack, high cholesterol, high blood pressure and diabetes and it will also make you feel good. On the side, this type of exercise will help you sleep better and reduce stress, and so on, I could go on all day.
Now, let me go to technicalities here. An Aerobic exercise is any sustainable activity that utilizes oxygen and thus the burning of fat. Now, this definition is a little ambiguous because you can have weight training which more aerobic especially when people aren’t using a heavy load but have longer sets that actually use more oxygen.
To contrast it with cardio, think just think about the rests in between and any activity can be potentially one. If your heart rate is allowed to lower between the intervals followed by maximum output then you are more in the anaerobic range. However, if you are only doing intervals but the heart does not really drop substantially then you are going to be in more of a cardio range. Clear?
In a nutshell, anything lasting just a few seconds is going to be primarily anaerobic which includes maximal bouts of output and active rest between repetitions with actual rest between the sets. Examples of this are 50 yard-dash, weight lifting, Olympic lifting, and power-lifting. Meanwhile, anything lasting a few minutes is primarily the glycolytic system where there are prolonged bouts such as Basketball and Soccer. Now, anything beyond that first few minutes and you are in the aerobic zone.
This would include longer runs, rowing, and hiking. Its all about how your heart rate drops somewhat but doesn’t drop a lot and is still elevated in its output so that oxygen must fuel the process.Bottom line is, when it comes to cardio exercise, anything that gets your heart rate up minus long rests, fits the description. It’s not really what you do, but how hard you work cause any exercise can be challenging if you make it.
So while you’re at it, do something you enjoy where you can see yourself doing at least 3 days a week. Also, be flexible and don’t do the same thing all the time because it’s boring. More importantly, really make the time for it for people who workout don’t have more time than people who don’t, they’re just better at it. If you have to, pay someone to make you exercise, like a good personal trainer to take care of all the stuff on motivation, goal-reaching, etc.
If you are compressed for time, do high intensity which will burn more calories in a shorter period of time and will also continue to burn calories afterwards. On the other hand, this high impact and places more stress on your joints and musculature than moderate cardio so just be careful.