Cardiovascular, also known as cardio, exercise is anything that increases the rate at which your heart and lungs work. Common forms of cardio or aerobic exercise include walking, jogging, swimming, biking, and more.
Cardio in Workout Routines
Most workout routines often include some form of cardio exercise, especially in interval training. Even if you’re primarily focused on gaining arm and leg muscle, or sculpting your abs, the routines you come across always some type of cardio involved. But why bother if it doesn’t directly build muscle? The reason is that cardio essentially allows your whole body to workout. Instead of just targeting one area, there are multiple muscle groups that can benefit from the cardio exercise all at the same time. Most workout routines include cardio so you can get a full workout and have a balanced body.
Benefits of Cardio
Asides from interval training, it’s always good to participate in cardiovascular exercise in general, for a number of reasons. For one, cardio has many health benefits, including:
- Reduces the risk of heart disease
- Improves blood cholesterol and lowers blood pressure
- Strengthens the heart and lungs
- Increases muscle mass and strength
- Increases stamina
- Increases metabolism
- Promotes a strong and active immune system
- Weight loss
- Boosts mood
This is only just the beginning of the benefits that cardio has to offer you. It doesn’t take much to add cardio into your daily routine. In fact, the recommended amount of cardio exercise you should perform is at least 30 minutes, 3-5 days per week. This can easily be a few laps in the pool, or a walk around the neighborhood.
If you’re looking to gain extra muscle on top of being heart-healthy, try interval training where you can mix up cardio with weight exercises. You could carry a pair of weights with you as you jog around the corner and back, or even mix in squats every few minutes as you walk. Truth is, cardio can do a lot more for you than you think!