The main benefits of cardio fitness programs are:
- Burning calories, which helps with weight loss/control and
- Improving heart and circulatory system health (which also means you have more energy)
Although this workout is designed primarily to benefit cardio fitness and help with weight loss, it will also improve muscle tone and flexibility, strengthen the core stabilisers and improve coordination.
How cardio fitness helps with weight loss and heart health
There is an energy cost (ie calories burned) to all types of activity, but different types of activity are fuelled in different ways by the body. Aerobic – or cardio – exercise is the only type of exercise that can use fat stores as a fuel. Doing regular cardio exercise, combined with a sensible eating plan, will help to break down fat stores and maintain muscle.
Producing energy aerobically (i.e. with oxygen) is much more efficient for the muscles than having to produce it without oxygen. For this reason, the heart and circulatory system work hard to deliver oxygen to working muscles during aerobic exercise. The more aerobic exercise we do, the bigger and stronger the heart becomes to enable it to deliver adequate oxygen.
15 minute cardio fitness circuit
This is a circuit of 6 cardio exercises. It’s a beginner workout, so the intervals are quite short – 20 seconds per exercise. When you’ve done 20 seconds of the first exercise, try to move on to the next without resting. When you’ve done all 6, start again. Do the entire circuit 6 times. Before you start the circuit, you should have warm muscles. Muscles and joints need to warm up gradually to prepare for vigorous activity. Do the warm up exercises shown below before going into the main workout. Please also see the general exercise guidelines here.
When you’ve done the circuit 6 times, march on the spot for a minute or two until your heart rate returns to normal and then, if you have time, do these stretches.
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