Cardio Workouts for Good Health and a Lean Body
Cardio workouts—short for “cardiovascular workouts”—are essential for a healthy heart, healthy body and healthy mind. Cardio workouts helps to keep out heart strong by pumping blood throughout the body.
This helps our body to get more oxygen and nutrients leading to better health and high levels of energy. Cardio workouts also burn calories and fat efficiently.
Top benefits of cardio workouts
- Endurance increases
- You get healthy skin
- Burns calories quickly
- Increases blood flow to the muscles
- Lowers resting heart rate
- Improves body metabolism
- Improves overall appearance
Variety makes cardio workouts easy for everyone. With an endless choice of activities: running, walking, skipping, swimming, cycling, aerobics, dancing, rowing, rock climbing, sports like squash, tennis, and even badminton are only some of the activities you can take up.
How to measure your heart rate level?
There are precise ways to make sure you are working at your optimum level and you can get a heart-rate-monitor watch to measure your calories and heart rate.
However, even if you do not have one you can still use a simple method by measuring the “Rate of Perceived Exhaustion (RPE).” This uses a scale of 1-10 that is based on your ability to speak while working out.
- RPE 1-2: Very easy; you can converse with no effort.
- RPE 3: Easy; you can converse with almost no effort.
- RPE 4: Moderately easy; you can converse comfortably with little effort.
- RPE 5: Moderate; conversation requires some effort.
- RPE 6: Moderately hard; conversation requires quite a bit of effort.
- RPE 7: Difficult; conversation requires a lot of effort.
- RPE 8: Very difficult; conversation requires maximum effort.
- RPE 9-10: Peak effort; no-talking zone cannot practically talk
Recommended way to do your cardio workouts
A good cardio workout with which you will see results is one that balances together 3 components which are Frequency, Intensity and Duration.
These 3 make the workout effective. Plus it is important to include a warm-up (including stretching) and cool-down session before and after the main workout.
1. Warm-Up Session
You must start off with a 3-5 minute warm-up (exercises such as marching in place or a slow walk) this helps you to warm up your body and increase blood flow to all the working muscles.
This also prepares the body for the hectic workout and protects it from injuries. You should also stretch the muscles you will be using during the workout.
RPE here should start with 1 and work up to a 4.
2. The Workout
The workout is aimed at increasing your need for oxygen in the working muscles to which your body responds by increasing your heart rate and pumping more blood in order to supply you with more oxygenated blood. Your lungs take in more oxygen in order to get it into the blood. This is why, when you lift something heavy, you become out of breath.
RPE at this stage should be averaging between 5 and 6 and intervals of 8-10 should be show up periodically.
For example, if you are on the treadmill you could do intervals wherein for 4 minutes you maintain an RPE of 5 or 6 and then do 30-second spurts of RPE between 8 and 10.
3. The Frequency
It is recommended that you do your cardio workouts at least 3-to-5 times-per-week. You should allow your body to rest on alternate days to build, recover, and repair your muscles.
4. The Duration
In order to achieve the cardiovascular benefits, you should workout for 20-to-60 minutes excluding the warm-up and cool-down time. When you workout this long, your body burns up its available glycogen store and starts to burn up your fat store.
5. The Intensity
Use the Rate of Perceived Exhaustion (RPE) to measure your intensity.
The main point here is to workout at a level that’s hard enough to make a difference but not so hard as to hurt yourself.
6. The Cool-Down
After you’ve finished your workout, cool down for 3-5 minutes by going very slow and gentle.
The RPE should be brought down to a 1.
The goal here is to get the blood flowing away from your muscles and back to your heart. Cooling down prevents dizziness, cramping, nausea and sudden changes in blood pressure. It also lessens your muscle soreness or injury.
Cardio workouts can contribute to all your fitness goals. Cardio workouts are beneficial in improving your overall fitness, thereby improving the quality of your life. Even if you haven’t given it a thought yet, it is never too late to start cardio workouts.
Adding cardio workouts to your daily routine will make you fitter and healthier. In the present-day lifestyle, this is very advantageous. Find the one you enjoy the most and get on track for a healthy life.