10 Steps to Natural Weight Loss and Health: Step 6, Cardiovascular Workout
Cardiovascular exercise works your muscles and your heart and lungs. Any type of exercise that gets your heart moving counts as cardio; you should try to do cardio exercise for at least 30 minutes, 3 times a week.
Benefits of Cardiovascular Exercise
Cardio exercise gets your blood flowing and your heart pumping. It also works to improve lung capacity and stamina and will help you lose weight. Cardio exercise will keep your body limber and flexible.
How Much Cardio?
Experts recommend aiming for 30 minute cardio sessions three to five times a week. On your off days, do strength training exercises. If you're out of shape, start with 20 minutes of moderate exercise and gradually work your way up. For best results, try an interval routine. If you're running, run at a moderate pace for one minute then run hard for three. Switch back to one minute, and then increase it again. These spurts of high intensity work push your muscles repeatedly and give your body the most benefits.
Cardio is Cardio is Cardio
If running isn't your thing, there are plenty of other forms of cardio exercise you can try. Elliptical machines, rowing machines or swimming are great alternatives. Try getting outdoors by power walking or doing a light jog. You can even take the kids sledding. Sprint up the hill and rest as you sled down; this"ll get your heart rate pumping as well as your adrenaline. Be sure to mix it up whatever you do; you want to be excited about working out. Vary your routine so you don't get bored.
If you're not sure that you're getting the most out of your cardio workout, try this test. You don't want your heart rate to be exploding, but you want it to be working. Say a sentence. If you're gasping by the end of the sentence, you're probably working too hard. If you say it without a problem, you should work a bit harder. That is your target heart range.
Break It Up
Another idea is to break up bursts of cardio with some weight training. If you're running, run at a high pace for 3 minutes then walk briskly for one. While you're walking, grab a set of free weights and do some bicep curls to work your arms. Whatever you choose, cardio is an important aspect of exercise. If you can only do ten minutes of cardio, then do ten minutes. Before you know it you'll reach 30.