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Your heart beats faster. You breathe more rapidly and deeply. And you sweat. Well, that’s probably because you’ve been moving the large muscles in your legs, arms and hips over a sustained period of time. When these major muscles are involved in exercise, there is increased rate of respiration to produce energy. In turn, the need for more oxygen leads to increased breathing and heart rate. And such a form of activity is called cardiovascular exercise—or cardio in short.

What is cardiovascular exercise?

Also called aerobic or endurance exercise, cardiovascular exercise is any form of activity that uses aerobic metabolism. That is, during the activity, oxygen is heavily involved in the cellular reactions that produce the energy necessary to sustain the activity. Your heart rate increases and you breathe more deeply to maximize the amount of oxygen in your blood and help you to use more oxygen efficiently. Hence, you feel more energized and do not get tired quickly.

For an exercise to be considered cardio, it must raise your heart rate and breathing rate into the moderate to vigorous intensity level (at least 50-percent of the normal rate) for a minimum of 10 minutes. That is why activities undertaken to improve strength, such as resistance exercise, using weight machines, lifting weights, and core workouts are NOT considered as cardio because they do not raise the heart rate throughout the period of exercise.

Why should you engage in cardiovascular exercise?

  • Improved heart health
  • Enhanced brain health
  • Increased metabolic rate
  • Weight regulation
  • Improved mood and energy
  • Stronger immune system
  • Management of arthritis

Programs Matching This Category

  1. Pamela Reif's Workout
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