What is Cardio & Most Effective Cardio Exercises

What Is Cardio Training?

Go to any gym or talk to a few fitness buffs and the term you’ll most often hear thrown around is ‘cardio’. Everyone’s buzzing about it and everyone is (supposedly) doing it. Don’t be out of the loop – and out of shape – cardio really is worth all that buzz.

So, What Is Cardio?

Cardio exercise, or cardio training, is basically any kind of exercise that raises your heart rate. Your breathing speeds up and you spend more energy (calories) while moving. As a result, more oxygen gets delivered to your muscles, which then allows them to produce the energy required to move from the food you eat.

Cardio exercises are simple and you’ve seen them all. This includes running, jogging, brisk walking, treadmills, swimming, cycling and trampoline rebounding.

Most people associate ‘cardio’ with high intensity strength training, but that is not entirely true. Most experts consider cardio as exercise in which your heart rate is sustained to at least 50 percent of your maximum level. Some more narrow definitions tighten the range to about 60 to 70 percent. 65 percent of the maximum exertion rate is the sweet spot for the burning of fat, as then it makes the highest contribution to the calories spent overall.

What Cardio Isn’t

Cardio training (aerobic exercise) is distinct from anaerobic exercise, or strength training. Cardio exercise is focused on sustaining a moderate intensity of activity during a longer time period, while strength training raises the heart rate and VO2 (maximum oxygen uptake) to the near limit of the person.

Anaerobic exercise uses additional energy-producing mechanisms for extra energy. This occurs since not enough oxygen can be supplied, and some of the energy has to be created without the presence of oxygen, albeit the process is inefficient compared to aerobic metabolism. You most commonly see this in sprinting, weight lifting and HIIT. The result is the build-up of lactic acid in the muscles, causing burning and pain with prolonged exercise.

Benefits of Cardio Training

Cardio training is immensely beneficial for everyone, and the benefits are not only physical, but also mental and psychological.  

Most directly, cardio training increases lung capacity and strength of lung muscles. It strengthens the heart by improving its pumping function. The stronger the heart, the less hard it will have to work – the resting heart rate is decreased and the stamina is increased. This significantly reduces the mortality from cardiovascular diseases (CVD) further in life, and it’s never too late to start and reap the benefits.

Aerobic exercise is effective for reducing blood pressure and improving your circulation. Your body will also transport oxygen in the red blood cells more effectively. It could also reduce your risk of diabetes, osteoporosis and strengthen your bones.

Cardio training is excellent for boosting the function of your immune system and reduces the general levels of inflammation in your body. Cancer rate among those who exercise regularly was markedly reduced and survival rates were higher.

Regular exercise will also improve your mental health. It is a notorious mood-lifter and it increases your cognitive abilities. You will be able to think and concentrate more easily. It also promotes good sleep and increases your self esteem while reducing the risk of depression. Studies have shown that academic performance in students who exercise was improved. The rate of neurodegenerative disorders drops with the increased frequency of exercise.

Drawbacks of Cardio Compared to Other Exercise Methods

These are not drawbacks per se, but aerobic exercise may not be preferred among some individuals who wish to get different results when they exercise.

Aerobic exercise is not optimal for building your muscles, as muscle growth occurs when you almost overload the muscle to 80 – 90 percent of its maximum capacity. This generally doesn’t happen in aerobic exercise, where the goal is sustained prolonged exercise.

Repetitive exercise can cause overuse injuries, muscle strains, aches and pains. We suggest you vary the exercises to activate other muscles as well. Low impact exercises such as rebounding is also helpful in this regard, especially for people with hip and joint problems.

How to Start Exercising

If you’re a sedentary person, the term ‘cardio training’ might sound scary, but it really is not. Start off gradually and then increase the intensity as you go. You will notice the improvement very quickly. The Couch to 5K, for example, is one of the most popular running programs that will have you running 5 kilometers in one go in nine weeks!

Generally speaking, the appropriate level of intensity is the level where you can hold a conversation with a person running beside you. Any more and you’re approaching higher intensities – not pad per se, though. You should exercise for 20 to 30 minutes in one go, and start off by doing it 3 times per week and then gradually increasing the frequency.

All major health authorities recommend at least 30 minutes of cardio exercise per day, but the minimum should not satisfy you. Once you get the hang of it, always strive for more!

Regardless of whether you are searching to burn fat or build muscle mass, cardio is probably going to be a component of your workout system. You’ll frequently discover yourself doing more cardio if fat loss is the objective, but also for those whom are searching to build muscle tissue, incorporating some smart cardio to the mix is most certainly not a bad concept. This way you’ll stay in better training levels as you get about the process, allowing you to raise more weight during your weight raising sessions.

This stated, not all cardio is created equally. Specific variations of cardio offer more advantages over others, so understanding which cardio variation most closely matches the objectives you have in spot will help make certain which you are likely to get the results that you’re looking for.

The most popular exercises are also those that are convenient and easy to get into. You can mix and match these exercises to your liking. Varying the intensity during your training is one of the options to get the most out of the time you spend exercising.


Let’s take a closer top at the primary types of cardio training that you can perform therefore that you understand which is likely to be best for you.


Jogging is a bit more advanced, but also more effective as exercise. It is one of the most effective exercises for burning calories. You’ll need a good pair of trainers and a place to jog (or a treadmill). If you jog outside, you’re at a mercy of weather, so during the winter it’s best to stay inside on a treadmill.

Example Exercise: Depending on your level of activity, start off slow. First walk and then jog at a slow pace. Increase speed as you see fit. We commend 90 seconds of running and 90 seconds of walking until you get into shape. Then start reducing the time you spend walking and run for longer periods of time.

While some men and women enjoy utilizing a treadmill, you can definitely get out into the great out-of-doors and get your run in.

Sprint training in the form of high-intensity interval training is one of the many effective techniques to be going about your operating cardiovascular training, so one thing that you will surely desire to be considering.

Uphill Walking

If you dislike jogging or can’t run due to back discomfort or any other damage, you may possibly want to consider uphill walking as an alternative.

Believe it or not, good old walking can be a great way of getting some exercise while doing your daily chores. Just step up the pace and get your feet in a rhythm – not only will you huff and puff but you’ll also get to where you wanted faster. Ditch the car and put on a pair of trainers!

Example Exercise: Walk for 30 minutes. Warm up for the first minute. Walk leisurely for 4 minutes. Speed up for 3 minutes. March for 2 minutes. Walk briskly for 5 minutes. Repeat the last 10 minutes. Then slowly reduce your pace for the last 5 minutes.

If you walk at a high sufficient incline and a brisk speed, this can be simply as intense as an operating exercise and as effective for overall fat burning outcomes.

Uphill walking is likely to be a great way to strengthen the quads, hamstrings, glutes, as well as the calves, so is a complete reduced body strengthener as well.

It is perhaps not almost because high in impact, so this is exactly what really makes it attract to a number of people.

Elliptical Training

The elliptical instructor is one cardio technique that is catching on more and more as time goes on. Men and women love the fact that they can burn off plenty of calories on this machine since they are using both their top and lower body, and the fact that they get that full body exercise.

The elliptical is additionally a non-impact exercise, so tends to be a great option for those who do suffer from reduced back pain.

Make sure you try out any piece of elliptical cardiovascular equipment if you’re going to buy one for a home gym as they all have a somewhat various feel.

You want to make certain you are going to be completely comfortable in any elliptical you utilize.


Rowing is the next form of cardio training which you should think about. If you are primarily focused on building top human body power, rowing should you be your go-to cardio method.

While you will nevertheless challenge your reduced body to some level if you’re making use of a rowing cardiovascular device (versus being in a real ship), the focus is on the back, biceps, triceps, shoulders, and core.

For anybody whom does experience from a reduced body injury, rowing can be a great means to remain active and keep your body weight in check while recovering.


Swimming is a low-impact exercise, making it excellent for those suffering from bad joints or injuries. It is very intensive, and as a result most won’t be able to swim for the whole 30 minutes. But that’s fine. Of course, a prerequisite is that you know how to swim properly with a good technique.

Example Exercise: Swim for 100 meters four times, with 20 second breaks in between. Reduce these breaks by five second with each successive rep. Don’t sprint; swim at a pace you’re comfortable with.


One of the many intense exercises that you can do is skipping. It is simple to burn off just as numerous calories skipping as you can with any other cardio difference and once again, this one challenges both the upper since well as the lower body.

This one also is going to count more on your coordination abilities because well, so that can more improve the fitness progress which you are seeing.

The something that you must remember if you’re likely to skip is you should be sure to do so on somewhat of a padded area and constantly put on good supportive running shoes.

This is an extremely high impact cardiovascular variation therefore you want to be careful as you do it so that you don’t wind up experiencing leg discomfort.

Skipping is very cheap since well, being that all you need is a skipping rope, so great for those doing house workout sessions.


Often forgotten, cycling is a great way of both reinforcing your bond with nature and getting some exercise while you’re at it. When the weather’s good, whip out your bike and go hit some trails. If it’s raining, it’s best to stay on your stationary bike and watch TV, for example. Don’t forget to fit your bike properly. At the lowest points of the pedals, your legs should be fully extended. You shouldn’t be able to touch the ground when sitting on a bike!

Example Exercise: Bikes are very versatile. You can opt for anaerobic 30 second sprints, or you can do cardio exercises of moderate intensity. Bike for at least 12 minutes at a moderate pace. Try doing 30 by varying the pace and perhaps with a few intense uphill parts.

Stair Climbing

If you take place to have a long set of stairs close by or you get to a gym with stepper devices, stepping can be a great way to get your backside in shape quickly as well.

This exercise is likely to mainly target the glutes, particularly if utilizing a steeper step, therefore will firm you up quickly.

Don’t think that you won’t be making use of the rest of the human body though – you will, it’s just that the glutes are actually known as into play.

Stair climbing can be a bit taxing on the knees too nevertheless, so just tread gently if you choose to do this activity.

Mini Trampoline Training

With various benefits and with a lot of versatile programs used even by NASA, mini trampolines training can be one of the best form of workouts you can get. Research has shown that you can loose around 1000 calories per hour and it`s almost 70% more efficient than jogging

Mini trampolines are a great way of getting exercise without putting too much stress on your joints. It’s simple and only requires a rebounder, which can be bought for moderate sums of money. The exercises are excellent for burning calories and keeping you fit, and they are performed indoors.

Example Exercise: Start with bouncing on a rebounder. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and bounce for 5 minutes. Then jog for 5 minutes – move your hands as if you are jogging on a level surface, but bring your knees up as high as possible while jogging. You can then take small weight in both hand and raise your arms to your sides while simultaneously bouncing up and down for 5 minutes. This combines both aerobic and strength training. Repeat these exercises twice. Always warm up for 5 minutes before beginning with exercise.

Check here for our selection of mini trampolines!

Boot Camp

Finally, final but maybe not least you have actually start camp training. These classes have actually become remarkably popular over current many years and combine both opposition training with cardio training.

For those searching for a total exercise all in one, this might be a great option to do. You’ll additionally get that group atmosphere as well, which most people really enjoy and it keeps them inspired to carry on.

Therefore here you have the top points to keep in mind as you get started with your cardiovascular training.

Don’t feel bound to simply one form of cardio either – mix it up to add more interest into your workout routines.