In terms of health and fitness, cardiovascular exercise is one of the most beneficial forms of physical activity you could ever wish for. Many people seem to think of cardio as nothing more than a tedious form of physical exercise designed to help you to burn fat and lose weight. In reality however, there are many, many benefits associated with cardiovascular exercise and activity, that would truthfully take us all day to list in great detail. The word ‘cardio’ for example, is actually derived from the ancient Greek word ‘Kardia’ which meant heart. The reason for this is that cardiovascular exercise presents countless benefits for the human heart, as well as many other major organs and internal systems as well. Cardio helps our bodies to condition our lungs and heart, allowing us to transport oxygen, blood, and other nutrients throughout our bodies much more effectively and efficiently. Experts recommend at least 30 minutes of cardio exercise should be performed 5 days each week, in conjunction with a healthy and balanced diet. When people think of cardio exercise, there’s one piece of equipment in particular, that immediately springs to mind, and that is the dreaded treadmill of doom! In actual fact, working out on a treadmill can be quite enjoyable and productive, but please don’t think that it is the only form of cardio available to you. To prove just how versatile and diverse cardiovascular exercise can be, here’s a look at five of the most beneficial examples you could ever wish for.

Walking

Walking

Believe it or not, but walking has been proven countless times to be an incredibly beneficial form of physical activity, that not only promotes fat loss and stamina building, but that also helps promote optimal heart and circulatory system health and function. Walking is an extremely low-impact activity, making it ideal for elderly individuals, as well as people who perhaps may be suffering with joint issues. The great thing about walking is that it can be tailor-made based upon your own fitness levels, so you can go as fast or as slow, as far, or as short, as you like. Though it may not sound like much, one hour of steady walking can burn around 200 – 250 calories on average, which is not to be sniffed at. On top of that, it will also help boost stamina and endurance, and it’s a great way of getting some fresh air and experiencing all that the great outdoors has to offer.

Running

Running is another highly beneficial form of cardio that is perhaps better suited to individuals who are primarily looking to burn calories and boost their stamina and fitness levels in the process. The great thing about running, is that like walking, you can go as fast or as slow as you like, as you dictate the pace, not the other way around. Some people go to the running track, some run on the treadmill, and some go for runs around the neighbourhood or their local park. Wherever you choose to run, you can rest assured that you will be burning calories, boosting stamina, and strengthening and improving your heart’s health and function in the process. As running is a much higher impact sport than walking, you will need to be careful if you have joint problems, and it will be worth investing in some good quality running shoes.

Cycling

Cycling

If walking or running isn’t your thing, cycling could be absolutely ideal. Cycling provides you all of the benefits of conventional cardiovascular activity, with the added bonus of helping to tone your muscles and strengthen them, particularly those found on your lower body. The great thing about cycling is that anybody can get involved, providing they have a bike, and you can basically perform it wherever you like. Many mountain biking enthusiasts for example, will actually go on cycling vacations, often in rural or coastal surroundings, where they will spend the majority of their stay cycling through stunning surroundings, allowing them to burn calories and increase their fitness and endurance as they go. Cycling however, needn’t be limited to outdoor surroundings as you may wish to take spin classes or even exercise in the gym, using the stationary bike perhaps.

Swimming

The great thing about swimming is that it allows you to utilize not only your core, but also your upper and lower body muscles in the process. Swimming is an incredibly low-impact form of cardiovascular exercise, due to the fact that you weigh much, much less in the water than on dry land. When swimming, not only can you burn calories, you also strengthen and tone your muscles, as swimming functions as a surprisingly effective form of resistance training, as the water itself actually helps to provide resistance. On top of that, anybody trying to recover from an injury may also benefit greatly when swimming, as it will allow them to exercise, without putting stress or pressure on the joints and muscles. In actual fact, there are too many benefits associated with swimming to list them all, but take it from us, the benefits are many.

Playing sports

For anybody out there that may be looking for a way of losing weight, getting fitter, and having a heap of fun in the process, playing sports is absolutely ideal. The great thing about playing sports is that there are so many different ones for you to choose from, so you basically select the ones you enjoy the most, and get stuck in. Try recruiting friends and/or family members which will not only increase the fun factor, and provide them with a little extra exercise in the process, it will also help to add a bit of friendly competition, particularly with one on one games such as tennis or badminton perhaps.

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