Cardio, (or cardiovascular activity as it’s formally known) is movement of large muscle groups which increases the heart and breathing rate.
Cardio is important for many reasons such as helping with weight loss, improving circulation and keeping disease at bay, but it also helps keep your heart healthy and strong. The heart is a muscle, and just like any other muscle in your body, it needs to be strengthened.
The British Heart Foundation recommend around 150 minutes per week of activity which raises your heart rate and respiration, and have recently launched a 10 minute to change your life campaign promoting the importance of even small bouts of exercise, it all adds up!
Should I do more cardio than weights?
This is one of the biggest questions we are asked and the short answer is....it all depends on you!
There should always be a balance of both resistance and cardio movements in your exercise programme, but the ratio of each will depend entirely on your goals and ability level.
If you are on a muscle building programme, just ensure that you are staying active enough by adding some short bouts of cardio into your programme, making sure you raise your heart rate and keep it raised at a sustained level over a period of time.
How often should I do cardio?
There’s no set guidelines, but for beginners just think little and often. Aim for around 15-20 minutes of moderate activity a day and for those more seasoned gym bunnies, in addition to moderate daily activity, make at least 1 session a week more intense meaning less rest periods and you feeling more out of breath and sweaty (always seek medical advice if you are unsure what level of exercise you can do).
What types of cardio are there?
As long as you are repetitively moving your body for long enough to raise (and then keep) your heart rate up, you are doing cardio.
Running, walking, jogging, swimming, circuit training, jumping, skipping, boxing and dancing are all forms of popular cardio exercise.
Can I still do cardio if I have an injury or illness?
Providing that you’ve been given the all clear by a medical professional, you can certainly do some forms of cardio even with injury or illness.
It would be advised to take it very easy with gentle walking or swimming to begin with and if you’ve suffered any heart condition, wear a heart rate monitor at all times to ensure you stay within the safe levels.
For previous injuries, keep cardio to low impact types meaning one foot is always on the floor and all movement is maintained with perfect form and control.
If you would like some more advice about safe and effective types of cardio you can do right away, click the button below and contact us.
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