Cardiovascular workouts are a crucial factor in your overall health. You probably hear the frequent news reports about how the country is getting fatter, and you might wonder, “Just how fat are we, and why is being physically active so important?”
Well, let’s start with a few important and relevant stats…
- Two-thirds of all deaths in the United States are the result of heart disease (39%), cancer (23%), and diabetes (3%)
- 71.6% of all adults in the U.S. are overweight or obese
- 33% of adults have high cholesterol, and 1/3 of these adults have cholesterol levels considered high risk
- Nearly 50% of adults have hypertension (high blood pressure)
There are three all-powerful things you can do to overcome these threatening stats:
- Avoid tobacco
- Eat a nutritious and balanced diet
- Stay physically active
The cardiovascular workouts on this site will ensure that you exceed the above requirement for “physically active.” They are simple, but powerful.
Benefits of Cardio
The benefits of consistent and effective cardiovascular workouts cover nearly every aspect of your life:
- Improved circulation
- Reduce stress and anxiety
- Helps you maintain a healthy weight, and lose weight if you are overweight or obese
- Sleep better
- Significantly reduce the risk of many diseases
- Improves cholesterol
- Improves your appearance and thus your confidence
- Increases your body’s overall efficiency, and therefore increases energy levels
And maybe the most important benefit of all…you simply just feel better. Your body will feel better, and you will feel better about yourself.
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Stretching for Cardio Workouts
Stretching for your cardiovascular workouts is very important. It not only prepares your muscles for your workout, but proper stretching is the most effective way to avoid injury.
When not properly warmed up for cardio, you risk injured ankles, calf muscles, hamstrings, and even your hips as the result of not properly stretching. It’s usually the result of rushing through your stretching routines because you’re in a hurry.
Equally important…if you do strain a muscle during your cardio workout, make sure you take off plenty of time to heal and recover. So often you are anxious to get back on track, and it does not pay in the end.
Take your time in recovery…it is well worth it. And once you think you are ready, take one more week to be safe! It’s always worth it in the end.
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There are many different types of cardiovascular workouts, and most are very effective as long as you achieve your 50% to 90% target heart rate.
The most important thing is to find the workouts that are best suited for you. Some people like variety, and some like a single type of cardio all the time.
So whether its jogging, stationery bike, HIIT, treadmill, elliptical bike, or whatever, find what you love and make it your go-to. Then mix it up on occasion to keep things fresh. And cardio is always the medicine for weight loss. And knowing when to do cardio, is also an important consideration.
And sometimes you don’t have time to make the gym, so home cardio workouts are a good option for those days.
The 5 basic types of cardiovascular workouts are:
- Long Slow Distance (LSD) – Also known as low intensity cardio and a form of continuous training, this is cardio that consists of long duration but relatively low intensity.
- Interval Training – This involves training at high intensity for a short period, followed by a low intensity recovery period. An example of this would be a quick run (not quite a sprint) for 3 minutes, followed by a slow jog for 3 minutes, and performing this rotation.
- HIIT – High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) alternates between short, supercharged cardio followed by a low-intensity recovery period. The science on HIIT has shown very powerful effectiveness.
- Fartlek Training – Cardio that mixes interval training with continuous training. Circuit Training – Combines cardio with strength training.
- Circuit Training – Combines cardio with strength training.
With all 5 cardio types, it is important to understand the role your cardio heart rate, as your heart rate determines the intensity of the exercise and keeps you in your training range.
Another great workout that includes cardio as well as strength building, is a calisthenics workout. It is simple and effective, and does not require a gym or any equipment.
Cardio With an Injury
You might have to consider an injury in your cardio selection, and don’t feel alone, as it is a common dilemma.
If you are dealing with any type of injury, such as lower back strain, ankle strain, knee problems, hip problems, or others, you should consider low-impact cardio such as an elliptical machine or stationary bike.
This type of cardio will keep you on your fitness plan, but do so with workouts that accommodate your particular injury.
It is also a great idea if you have any type of recurring lower body injures, such as knee problems, ankle problems, hip problems, etc. This type of exercise really takes the load off of your joints, and provides a smooth, low-jolt movement.
Make sure you warm-up your muscles properly prior to jumping in to your routine.
Last, but most importantly, always check with your doctor prior to any new cardiovascular workouts.
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