There are many aspects to overall health and fitness, but cardio training probably has the biggest impact on long term health. This is because it benefits heart and circulatory health more than other types of training. Further benefits include:
- Helps with weight control
- Increases bone density
- Strengthens muscles and connective tissues
- Improves agility and coordination
- Reduces stress and anxiety
How cardio training benefits heart health
Cardio training (also called aerobic training) is any exercise which uses the large muscle groups and continues for several minutes. Muscles need oxygen in order to turn sugar into energy. The heart has to pump blood to the muscles to get the oxygen there. Doing cardio training for several minutes causes the heart to have to work hard to achieve this. In order to adapt and make the task easier, over time the heart becomes bigger and stronger. For more about this, read this post.
Types of cardio training
Anything which causes your heart rate to increase and which you continue for several minutes will bring about cardio training benefits. Examples are
- Exercise to music/dance classes
- Rope skipping
However, activities such as Pilates, yoga, weight training and sprinting aren’t as effective for cardio training. This is because they either don’t raise the heart rate enough or cause the muscles to tire too quickly.
Cardio training round up
Here are 5 cardio training workouts on this site that you can easily do from home:
If you want something a bit more energetic than walking, this free 8-week e-mail course will take you from non-runner to running 2K. Like the walking course above, you’ll get an e-mail each week with a schedule and general health and fitness tips.
Because cardio training has to be kept up for several minutes, it can get monotonous. Circuit training helps with this, because you only do each exercise for a short time. This 15 minute circuit consists of 6 exercises you can easily do in a small space at home. There’s a printable download of all the exercises.