We hear and talk about cardio all the time, but what exactly is it? As a category of fitness activity, it’s actually a bit more rich and complex than you might think. The better you understand it, the more creative and effective you can get when it comes to your exercise habits!
Cardiovascular exercise is all about your heart and the rate at which it pumps blood throughout your body. This circulation of blood makes the distribution of oxygen and nutrients possible. Since the heart is a muscle, exercising it means strengthening its ability to do its job. This, and the ability to burn calories, is why cardio is one of the most important types of exercise you can engage in. Luckily, cardio exercise allows for plenty of creativity and variety. Anything that raises your heart rate to approximately 80% of its maximum can be defined as cardio. You can determine your maximum by subtracting your age from the number 220.
What Does “Aerobic” Mean?
People sometimes use “aerobics” and “cardio” interchangeably, and that’s because they more or less refer to the same types of activities. Your body’s ability to carry oxygen to its cells (this is what the Greek root “aero” refers to) and your heart’s ability to circulate your blood are both intertwined as processes. Therefore, whether you’re going for a run, riding a bike, or using a jumprope, your breathing and heart rate both increase. This may seem like it encompasses all of the most necessary fitness activities, but it’s important to even things out with a different set of exercises altogether.
Complementing With Anaerobic
In fitness, you can’t accomplish your goals if you put all your eggs in one basket. Those who focus too much on cardio while neglecting anaerobic activities are doing exactly this. Unlike aerobic exercise, these activities don’t focus on sustained elevation of heart rate or oxygen intake. Instead, they focus mostly on quick, intense bursts of activity. You may hear someone try to debate which one is “better,” but don’t be fooled, complementing them with one another will allow you to form a more comprehensive and balanced fitness plan!
Determining what forms and combinations of cardio exercise work best for you is an important process that determines much of the success of your fitness plan. As Calgary’s most dedicated fitness centre, Vitality Fitness can help! Call us at (587) 777-3378 to learn how.