Common Cardio Activities
Aerobics or cardiovascular exercises refers to any type of physical exercise performed at moderate but increasing levels of intensity for extended periods of time. The word “aerobic” means “with oxygen” and refers to the use of oxygen by the body throughout the activity. Cardio exercises are aimed at increasing your heart rate & effectively burns calories.
Some people, when they hear of the words aerobics or cardio activities, immediately equate it to mean “weight loss”. Though it is certainly very true that aerobics & cardio activities increase the body’s metabolic rate thus resulting in loss of fat mass, other health benefits of doing cardio exercises go beyond just your average weight loss program.
Cardio & aerobic exercises helps in :
1. strengthening the respiratory muscles resulting in smoother, unlabored breathing
2. strengthening the cardiovascular muscles and improves the hearts pumping efficiency
3. toning muscles in all parts of the body resulting in improved blood circulation and reduced blood pressure
4. increasing the number of red blood cells in the body which makes for improved transport of oxygen throughout the body
Regular & disciplined aerobics can reduce the risks of having cardiovascular diseases. It also helps lower the risk of having other health problems such as respiratory diseases and osteoporosis.
Some of the most common cardio exercises are:
1. Walking – Walking is the most common form of cardio exercise & sometimes people do not realize that they are already doing aerobics just by pacing around the house! Walking is a very low-impact exercise & can be done just about anywhere. It is one of a few aerobics exercises that can actually be incorporated into your lifestyle. A 15-30 minute walk around the mall make you lose just as much calories as you would on the treadmill. You can increase your fat loss by increasing the speed of your walks.
2. Running/Jogging – The next most accessible & easier cardio exercise is running or jogging. You can do either depending on your physical capacity, beginners might want to try speed walking first before progressing to jogging then running. Like walking, running & jogging can be done in a lot of places like the beach, the park, around your neighborhood or at a track. Running is a very natural activity for your body & it will easily adapt once you make it a regular exercise.
3. Aerobic Dance Classes – The 70’s saw the explosion of the Jazzercise programs, the 80s brought Jane Fonda & Richard Simmons and the 90s brought supermodel-lead aerobics lessons. With the coming of the new millennium we heard of Madonna-inspired cardio exercises like yoga & Pilates among others. Throughout the decades, aerobics dance exercises may have changed but it has not faded. People still prefer exercising to a thumping beat & aerobic dances are very effective yet fun ways of keeping the weight off while maintaining a trim and tone body.
There are different types of aerobic dance lessons:
a. Low-impact – this type of aerobics always keeps on foot on the ground. It also does not have jumping or bouncing movements that can possibly hurt the joints. This type of exercise is good for people who cannot or must not move around or jump around like older people & people with extra weight.
b. High-impact – high-impact exercises involves a lot of jumping action & more complicated body movements that require a certain amount of agility & rhythm.
c. Step aerobics – step aerobics requires the use of a raised platform & makes use of body movements that need a “stepping” movement. Step-aerobics can be used in both the low & high-impact cardio activities.
d. Water aerobics – as the name suggests, this type of cardio exercise is done in the water. Though water aerobics is a very low-impact activity it does require a certain amount of ability in swimming as it is mostly done in waist-high water or deeper.