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Back to Basics: What is Cardio and Why You Should Do It

Recently, I was dispensing advice about exercise and weight loss, as I am in the habit of doing. I was talking about the benefits of cardio and the person asked me point blank, "What is cardio?" That question was the inspiration behind this post, because sometimes we need to get back to basics.

Cardio is the popular nickname for cardiovascular exercise which is any activity that raises your heart rate. Meaning exercise make your heart work harder than it does when you are just sitting on the couch. You might be familiar with the term aerobic exercise, and cardio is the same thing.

When doing cardio you want to reach your target heart rate, starting with a warm up (slowing bringing your heart rate up) and ending with a cool down (slowly bringing your heart rate down). If you are not sure of what your target heart rate should be check out the FitSugar Calculator. It will help you determine your exercise parameters and tell you how to find your heart rate.

There are many benefits to doing cardio including reducing your risk of diseases as well as burning extra calories to aid weight loss and maintenance. Recent studies have even indicated that cardio exercise is good for the brain as well as the lungs and heart.

To see how cardio compares to other forms of exercise, read this post: Exercise Explanation. If you are looking for cardio programs to follow, oh boy do I have a bunch for you. Check out these cardio routines - they include workouts with treadmills, elliptical machines, trampolines and swimming. There is a little something for everyone.

The easiest way to add cardio to your life is running - all you need is a pair of shoes and a plan. The Couch to 5K program is an excellent place to start.

Any questions? Ask them in the comments section below.

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