What cardio do you do?

Following on from my post last week about the right time to start an exercise and healthy eating program, I thought I would run a few posts about the type of exercise you should be doing when starting out.  Whether you are starting from scratch, or starting back again after a bit of time off such as after pregnancy, your first point of call should be your doctor to get the all clear.  Most likely your doctor will be excited about you starting to exercise too!

The most common type of exercise that people start out with is some form of cardiovascular exercise ( or "cardio" ).  Cardio exercise is one that raises your heart rate ( either a little or a lot ) for the duration of the exercise.  It is an aerobic activity that uses oxygen to produce energy in your body to fuel your activity.  Cardio exercise can use pretty much every muscle in your body.

So, why do cardio exercise?
  • It improves the strength of your heart
  • It strengthens your lungs and increases your lung capacity
  • It strengthens the muscles you use for the exercise ie legs if you are running
  • It increases your fitness levels
  • It burns calories
  • It may help you sleep and reduce stress
  • It makes you feel good and increases your energy!!

What type of cardio should you do?
This all depends on what your goals are and what your current fitness levels and abilities are. 
When you are starting out you will probably want to stick to cardio exercise that is going to be a little lower in intensity such as swimming, walking or cycling.
As you build up your strength and fitness you might like to increase the intensity and add in a little bit of jogging.  
Exercise classes are another great option for those starting out.  Most classes cater for varying fitness and ability levels.  Just start out at your own level and your own pace and before you know it the class will seem easier and you can push yourself a bit harder
Some of the really popular classes based around cardio include
  • Step
  • RPM / Spin / Cycling
  • Dance classes such as Jam, Zumba etc
  • Boxing type classes 
As you build up your fitness and confidence you might find that you would like a bit of an extra challenge.  This is where the real fun starts!
Why not build your cardio fitness up so that you can start taking on some long endurance type cardio challenges ... 10km runs, Half Marathons, Marathons. 
Whilst you might think these are out of your reach now, with consistent and persistent training you will be able to get the hang of this type of cardio exercise.  If I can run Half Marathons, then pretty much anyone can give it a crack!  Just check out the number of registrations at the Gold Coast Half Marathon each year!         

Another type of high intensity cardio exercise is called just that .. HIIT or High Intensity Interval Training.  This type of training is aimed at increasing your aerobic capacity and it can help you run, faster, longer and stronger.  It's not the type of training you would do all the time, but adding into your routine can definitely bring results!  I really like this type of training, it's hard and fast and you can get it over and done with quickly!

Do you like cardio exercise?  If so, what is your favourite?
My favourites are running, but I really enjoy interval training ( crazy hey!! ) and I love boxing!

Why not set yourself a goal and try a new type of cardio exercise?  Let me know how you go!

Fit Mum x   


Deb said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

Hi there.... I think you read my blog so you probably know I'm a lover of Zumba - though more of the Body Jam kind than the straight Latin kind. I'm about to try Sh'bam in the next few weeks and am looking forward to that.

I also love interval type training - in the form of circuit classes, which give me a combo of strength and cardio as well. Even I can handle pain for a minute or two!


Fit Mum said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

Deb, I love that you have found something you enjoy and can stick to!