Cardio, also known as aerobic, exercise helps to work large groups of muscles, such as in the legs, and make the heart and lungs stronger. By providing your body with endurance, stamina, and increased oxygen production, your will feel more energized. Other benefits are burning calories and lowering blood pressure. This type of fitness can be achieved by doing ordinary chores around your home, such as scrubbing floors or mowing the lawn, through traditional workouts such as walking, jogging or jumping rope, or even through structured classes such as step aerobics or Tai Chi.
When beginning a cardio program, it is important to first consult your doctor in case your have any medical conditions that need to be addressed. Exercise can improve the quality of life for any individual, regardless of their medical condition, but consulting your physician will ensure that the workout regimen you choose are not harmful to your condition or will not aggravate your heart due to any medication you may be taking that can adjust your heart rate.
Once you have consulted your physician, you can begin selecting cardio exercises that are right for your body and for your goals. It is important to choose a workout regimen that you will enjoy versus choosing that regimen based on what you think you should be doing. If you enjoy the fitness route you take, you will be more likely to continue that routine to better your health for life. Long term cardio exercise is always preferred, to keep your body moving and to keep you healthy.
Beginners should start with walking as it is the least expensive (completely free), and will help get your body used to getting started with an activity. Walking can be done almost anywhere, and you can use walking to work yourself up to other activities, such as jogging, jumping rope, swimming, stair climbing, running and cycling. Incorporating a cardio exercise daily will provide maximum benefits, but many people prefer to choose a few days out of the week where they can focus on their fitness and well being.
Be sure to stretch your muscles and warm them up before performing vigorous cardio exercise routines. Stretching your muscles will help you to avoid cramps in your legs and pain in your joints, and warm up exercises will keep you from overexerting your body and tiring quickly. Warm ups will also help you prevent injuries. As your body becomes used to working out, it will become necessary to increase the intensity of your routine to continue to allow your body to work.
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