If you have general fitness and wellness goals, you probably need some cardio in your training program. However, what you do for that cardio may vary considerably from what you are imagining. Slogging away on a treadmill or elliptical is definitely not required to improve cardiovascular fitness and all the fabulous benefits that come with it.
Putting it simply, cardio is any exercise that increases your heart rate to the point that your breathing rate increases and you start to feel warm. In order to get the desired benefits, you need to place adequate stress on the cardiovascular system to get the system to adapt and change for the better. Cardiovascular fitness allows you to perform “large muscle, repetitive moderate to high intensity exercise for an extended period of time.” The mountain hike on vacation, hours of quickly walking from ride to ride at an amusement park, raking and bagging leaves all afternoon, dancing the night away and even lifting weights will be much more manageable if you improve your cardiovascular fitness. That’s because cardio improves your body’s function in so many ways. One of the main improvements is a more efficient heart beat so your body is better able to deliver and use oxygen for metabolic purposes. It’s pretty cool how your body adapts to the (good) stress you place on it.
How do you get to the point of making these adaptations happen without wanting to quit (or pass out)? Here are your five tips: