What is considered cardiovascular exercise

Your heart beats faster, you breathe more quickly and more profoundly, and you sweat. It’s because you’ve been moving the big muscles in your legs, arms, and hips for a long time. What is considered cardiovascular exercise?

When these large muscles are involved in an exercise, there is an increased rate of respiration to produce energy. The need for more oxygen leads to improved breathing and heart rate. And such an activity is called cardiovascular exercise – or in short, cardio.

What is cardiovascular exercise?

Also called aerobic or endurance training, cardiovascular training is any activity that uses aerobic metabolism. Oxygen is strongly involved in cellular reactions that produce the energy needed to maintain the activity during the exercise. Heart rate increases and breathing becomes deeper to maximize oxygen in your blood and help you use more oxygen efficiently. Therefore, you feel more energetic and do not get tired quickly.

Cardiovascular exercise is any activity that increases heart rate and respiration and increases oxygen and blood flow throughout the body. Such activity gradually challenges your most vital internal body organs and improves the function and performance of the heart, lungs, and circulatory system. Cardio improves heart health, mental health, mood, sleep, weight control, and metabolism.

With each stroke, the heart becomes more efficient as it pumps oxygen-carrying blood, the lungs more efficiently absorb oxygen, and the muscles are more equipped to use more oxygen. Nevertheless, like breathing and heart rate increase, the rise should not be so significant that you feel the need to stop and rest. If you experience unusual pain or alarming symptoms, you must stop immediately and seek medical attention.

Cardio as exercise must increase the heart rate and breathing rate to moderate to high-intensity levels (at least 50 percent of regular frequency) for a minimum of 10 minutes. Core training is NOT considered cardio. They do not increase the heart rate throughout the training period.

What are the most common cardiovascular exercises?

  • Brisk walking
  • Running
  • Jogging or jogging in place
  • Burpees
  • Bear crawls
  • Swimming
  • Water aerobics
  • Cycling / cycling
  • Dancing
  • Cross-country skiing
  • Race-walking
  • Volleyball
  • Basketball
  • Soccer or racquetball
  • Rowing
  • Kayaking
  • Canoeing
  • Circuit training
  • Jump rope
  • Stair climbing
  • Inline skating
  • Martial arts
  • Golf
  • Hiking
  • HIIT (High-Intensity Interval Training)
  • Rock climbing
  • Jumping jacks
  • Squat jump
  • Shared jumps
  • Roller disc
  • Kickboxing

The most commonly used machines for cardio training include:

Stationary cycles
Ski trainer
Rowing machine
Elliptical trainer
Lying bike
Standing bike
Ergometer for upper body

What are the main categories of cardiovascular exercise?

Roughly speaking, cardiovascular training can be classified into high-power cardio, low-power cardio, and no-cardio.

High-impact cardio

Any cardiovascular activity that involves having both feet off the ground during the training is called high-impact cardio. Cardio is also called a weight-bearing exercise because you support your body weight with limbs against gravity. Examples include skipping rope, Running, HIIT, high-performance aerobic dance, and certain forms of advanced strength training.

Low-impact cardio

Any cardiovascular activity where one foot remains on the ground at all times. Low-impact cardio is a weight-bearing exercise and good for maintaining healthy bones and conditioning the lungs and heart. But low-intensity cardio training should not be confused with low-intensity cardio training since many types of low-intensity cardio training are high-intensity. Low-impact cardio includes walking, hiking, and low-intensity aerobic dancing.

No-impact cardio

Cardiovascular exercise performed in water is classified as no-impact cardio because being immersed in water reduces the gravity on the body. So swimming and water aerobics are fitness activities without impact. Cycling is also a cardio workout without impact because the tires and frame of the bike support most of the body weight. No-impact cardio such as cycling and water exercise is ideal for injury rehabilitation. It eliminates most of the grinding and throbbing of land-based cardio activity.

Related articles:

What are some examples of cardiovascular endurance

What is the definition of cardiovascular endurance?


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