Cardio exercises are a very popular training method among athletes in general and bodybuilders in particular.
It is an essential component of any training program, whether the goal is to lose weight, build muscle or improve overall health.
What are cardio exercises?
Scientifically, cardio is any physical activity that raises the heart rate above the normal limit, and makes you breathe faster.
For example when jogging, since the leg muscles work harder the following happens:-
The lungs bring in more oxygen 'which makes you breathe faster'
The heart pumps blood in the legs to deliver oxygen faster, “which raises the heart rate.”
Therefore, cardio exercises can be defined simply as exercises that target and challenge the heart and lungs.
Benefits of cardio exercises
It doesn't stop at strengthening the heart and lungs, there are other benefits of cardio that make it one of the healthiest activities you can do.
1- Burning fat: All exercises work to burn fat, provided that you are in a calorie deficit.
Cardio exercises are one of the best fat-burning activities because they are easy to perform almost anywhere.
2- Strengthening the heart muscle: Cardio exercises help to make the heart muscles stronger and more efficient, and they also reduce the risk of heart diseases such as cardiac arrest and others.
3- Reducing blood pressure: Increasing blood flow makes blood vessels more flexible, and it also works to expand small vessels to deliver more oxygen to the muscles.
4- Increasing bone density: Like running and riding a bike, it works to fight osteoporosis
5- Reduces stress and depression: It helps the body release endorphins, which are natural pain relievers.
6- Strengthening the lungs: During cardio exercises, you breathe faster and deeper and this makes the lungs stronger.
7- Better sleep: Cardio exercises before bed help fight insomnia and get better sleep.
The great thing about cardio is that you don't have to do an hour of exercise at a high intensity.
A little too much. A brisk walk for just 15 minutes can improve your mood and help lower blood pressure.
How to design a suitable cardio exercise program
Designing an effective cardio program based on two points. First, choosing the appropriate type of activity, second, how to do it correctly.
In fact there are a lot of options available. Any physical activity will be sufficient as long as it increases your heart rate and makes you breathe faster. The idea is to choose what makes you feel comfortable and that you can easily do.
If you like going to the gym, there are so many options out there, such as a treadmill or resistance bands, and even some high-intensity exercises can be considered cardio.
You can also do cardio exercises at home easily and without any equipment or equipment. Such as running in place or skipping rope and others.
Some tips for choosing the right activities
1- Do something you love: If you don't have time for the gym, don't force yourself to go on the treadmill. You can run or bike outdoors and get the same benefit.
2- Choose an activity that you can do three times a week: To fulfill the recommendations of basic exercises, do cardio three times a week. Make it easier to motivate yourself by choosing an activity that is appropriate in terms of time and intensity to be able to do three times a week.
3. Be flexible: The nice thing about cardio is that you can choose any activity that raises your heart rate.
You don't have to do the same exercise every session, nor every week. Changing exercises is easy. Do this more often and you will discover more activities that you enjoy.
4. Keep it simple: If you're confused at first, start with 20 minutes. Create a schedule. Set a suitable 20 minutes on three different days of the week. Do any easy activity like brisk walking or whatever activity you like.
Now that you have determined the appropriate type of activity, how do you do it correctly??
Suppose you choose to run, for example... There are three basic criteria that you must take into consideration.
The duration of the training session is one of the most important factors in order to achieve the benefits of cardio exercises. You will need some time to build stamina.
Most studies suggest a session duration of 20 to 60 minutes.
But you can't start with an hour of cardio. Especially if you are a beginner it is better to do it gradually 10 minutes at the beginning and increase another 5 minutes in each session than the one before.
The number of times you exercise
The number of times you exercise per week depends mainly on your level of fitness and the type of goals.
For example, if you want to maintain your general health and improve the performance of the heart and lungs, without paying attention to burning fat, a training session of 20 to 30 minutes per day “medium intensity exercise” will be sufficient for this.
If your primary goal is to burn fat. It is better to exercise very intensely “high intensity” and therefore you will need more days of rest. In this case, 3 days a week will achieve better results.
After defining the activity and designing the schedule, you will not continue to increase the duration of the training indefinitely. Here comes the role of increasing the intensity.
Increasing the intensity of your cardio exercise is as important as gradually increasing your strength training.
It is the best way to burn fat, but the amount of calories burned is directly related to the intensity of exercise.
There are three different levels of intensity that you can rely on during your training.
1- High intensity cardio: between 70% and 85% of your maximum heart rate. This is one of the best ways to burn fat, if you are a beginner, you will need a while to reach this stage, or you can train at a high intensity for very short periods, then rest a little and repeat the matter.
2- Moderate or moderate intensity cardio: This level is between 50% and 70%... This is the ideal “source” intensity if your goal is to strengthen the heart and lungs and improve the performance of your circulatory system. Or if you've gotten rid of fat and are trying to avoid getting it back.
3- Low-intensity cardio exercises: This type of exercise is less than 50 percent, and this type of exercise is usually used to warm up, whether before strength or cardio exercises.