Crossroads Fitness Blog

Crossroads Fitness Blog

Get your heart pumping with cardio exercises

February 21, 2024

It’s no secret that to keep healthy, we must move our bodies every day. Movement strengthens our muscles, including our heart. Did you know the heart muscle is the only muscle that never stops working? 

Cardiovascular exercise keeps your heart strong. Learning what cardio exercise is and why it’s important is the first step. From there, you can explore ways of getting cardio exercise in the gym and some tips on making your experience the most enjoyable and beneficial it can be.

Simply put, cardio exercise raises your heart rate. When you go for a run or walk up and down stairs, you’re performing cardio. The stronger your cardiovascular system becomes, the more capillaries you have delivering oxygen to the cells in your muscles, where these cells then burn more fat.  

A strong cardiovascular system means more than just weight loss. Cardio exercises strengthen the heart and lungs, increase bone density, reduce stress, improve sleep and decrease the risk of heart disease. The list goes on.  Most important, cardio makes your body more efficient in your day-to-day living.  

Cardio exercise should be personalized to fit you.  Begin by finding your target heart rate. This will give you a starting point to be sure your workout is not only beneficial, but also safe. To calculate your maximum heart rate, subtract your age from 220. To Quick read more or view full article find your target heart rate, multiply your maximum heart rate by 0.55 and 0.85. This is the range where you will find the most benefit to your workout.

A heart rate monitor offers an important tool to track your heart rate throughout your workout. It can record the amount of time you exercise in your zone and how many calories you burn. If you don’t have a heart rate monitor or fitness band that measures heart rate, consider buying one.

Cardio exercise can be done inside and outside. It’s a personal preference. Both offer advantages. Cardio equipment in a health club is intended specifically for exercise. Each machine is designed to imitate your body’s natural movements. Understanding what each machine does will help you decide which one works best for your body and goals. Ideally, it will be a combination of a few of them.  

Start with the treadmill. It simulates walking and running. This machine has both incline and speed adjustments.  By increasing the incline of the bed of the treadmill, you will feel as though you’re walking uphill.  This will also increase your heart rate. Try to use the handles for balance only, not support. When you use the treadmill without holding on, you’re engaging your core muscles to stay balanced.

An elliptical machine offers a non-impact form of exercise.  This cardio machine is a good alternative for people who have joint or back issues.  This machine can provide upper and lower body strengthening and conditioning.  You can set the resistance for a harder workout as well as the cross ramp for an increased incline. 

The recumbent bike is another beneficial cardio machine. It works the gluteal muscles. This bike allows you to change the level of resistance.   

Other cardio machines include the adaptive motion trainer that can vary from stepping to running with stride length. The rowing machine offers a great cardio intensity workout.

Cardio exercise is only one of the four cornerstones of exercise, but one of the most important. There are various ways to increase your heart rate. Choose one that best suits your body and fitness goals. By choosing exercises you enjoy, you’ll be more apt to consistently do them. The benefits of cardio exercise far exceed just weight loss.

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