Cardiovascular exercise for a healthy heart and strong body

Cardiovascular exercise is exercise that primarily works the heart and lungs and is great for improving fitness levels. Cardio exercise includes aerobic activity, such as running, swimming, cycling, and walking. These are endurance activities, which means that you can do them for longer periods of time. Cardiovascular training is particularly good for people who want to lose weight as it uses a lot of calories and burns fat. Building a program that includes weekly cardiovascular exercise and strength training will help you build muscle and lose body fat which will improve your body composition and leave you fitter and stronger.

cardiovascular exercise
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What is cardiovascular exercise good for?

The benefits of cardiovascular exercise include stronger heart and lung function, a reduction in body fat, and greater levels of fitness. Steady-state cardiovascular exercise does not demand energy in the same way as strength training or high-intensity training, which means that your body predominately uses stored body fat as fuel during your workout. Steady-state cardiovascular exercise is usually a longer workout that does not fatigue you too quickly.

What happens when you do high-intensity exercise or HIIT

When you perform cardiovascular exercise at a higher intensity, your body will switch fuel source, because it has a more urgent demand for energy. This is the same fuel source that powers strength training. Your body will switch from burning stored body fat (which it does quite slowly) to using the glycogen stored within your muscles. Glycogen stores are limited though, which means you will deplete these faster and you will fatigue earlier.

So why do HIIT?

HIIT is great for people who want a faster workout and the body will still burn energy from fat stores, it just tends to do it after the workout, and for quite a long time. This makes HIIT a very appealing workout and it is highly effective.

So why do steady-state cardiovascular exercise?

HIIT is not for everyone. Some people simply do not like a high-intensity workout. Other people may have health concerns that mean ramping up their heart rate is not the best idea. Joint pain and injury can take HIIT out of the running too.

Great cardiovascular exercise at home.

When you think of cardiovascular exercise, you automatically think of running, walking, swimming and cycling. These are all great examples, but they do mean going out. You can, of course, use an indoor bike or a treadmill but these cost money and take up space. This doesn’t mean that you can’t do some great cardiovascular workouts at home. Aerobic activity of any kind counts, as long as it’s enough to get you out of breath. If you are going for steady-state cardio, then you should be able to hold a conversation, albeit a breathless one!

If you are confident with online streaming, you can also do live classes online. We do them check out our range of workouts right here. The great thing about live online classes is being able to bring together people for a workout, with the same vibe, but no one has to leave home. It’s a brilliant way to meet new friends and stay motivated with a real trainer.

woman cheering online fitness classes

Achieve your fitness goals. Work out in your own space. Make the most of your time. Progress at your own pace.

No time to travel to class? Childcare an issue? Work away from home? Our online fitness classes make it easy and convenient to exercise from the comfort of your own home.


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There are also aerobic workouts that you can stream directly to your TV. Before you start imagining 80’s workout gurus in spandex and morning chat shows with their super-motivated instructors, things have developed. You can now do workouts that involve learning new skills such as boxing and combat-based workouts, high-intensity Pilates and Yoga, and dance workouts such as salsa. There are some pretty cool workouts that you can do in the comfort of your living room.

What is the best cardiovascular exercise?

This all depends on what your goals are and the reasons why you train in the first place. In terms of weight loss, all cardiovascular exercise will really help. Unfortunately, there is no such thing as spot fat reduction, it comes off as it pleases. Any exercise that ramps up the heart rate and gets you breathing heavily will aid in torching those calories and the more you work, the better the results.

There is evidence that weight loss occurs when we breathe out and breathing harder correlates to a higher fat burn! Check out this article from Medical News Today that tells you all the science.

Some cardiovascular exercise may be beneficial for certain activities though. If you are seeking to build endurance with running, then walking, jogging, and running are going to help you achieve those goals. You may be training for your first 5k for example.

You may choose cycling because you have bad knees, some exercises are more suitable if people have injuries or health conditions.

Whatever you chose to do, the exercise needs to be something you really enjoy, this will motivate you to stick to it. Cardiovascular exercise is good for you, it improves your health and fitness, promotes relaxation and sleep, and reduces the risk of serious health conditions so find an activity you love and enjoy.

Always be sure to check with your GP or health care professional before starting a new exercise or nutrition program and seek support from an exercise professional to ensure you are exercising correctly.