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Cardio Workout

Aerobics / Cardio exercise is an important part of living a healthy life. Not only does it keep you physically fit and looking good, it also affects your mind and keeps you feeling good all day. Something good to know is that If you want to lose fat or shape your body, one of the most important things you can do is lift weights. Diet and cardio are equally important, but when it comes to changing how your body looks, weight training wins hands down. Go to the weight training area for information on this.

Below is a terrific introductory article where you can learn the basics and how to get started. You can help grow our learning community by contributing your knowledge to the article. Just click on the edit tab in the wiki article below.

Use the white subtabs above to navigate the other Aerobics / Cardio exercise resources. We have a Aerobics / Cardio exercise forum where you can get your questions & doubts answered, a page with Aerobics / Cardio exercise how-to videos, a page with the best handpicked links to other sites, and a page with the best Cardio exercise books and products.

Good Luck and Have Fun!
Duncan Davis

 

Introduction


Not only is cardio a great hobby to be involved in, but it is perhaps the most important part of all other hobbies that involve any type of physical activity. Just the concept of being “in shape” is a term that is completely useless without the idea of developing cardio. Cardio is short for cardiovascular, which refers to the heart. Cardiovascular exercise is a type of exercise that raises your heart rate and keeps it elevated for a certain period of time. Another name for this is aerobic exercise. The kinds of exercise that are associated with cardiovascular workouts are things like jogging, speed walking, and swimming because they are all exercises where there is no break in the routine. Exercises that emphasize stretch and strength, like Pilates or yoga for example are generally not considered cardio exercise, though Pilates can be done in a cardio way, and can certainly be combined with cardio workouts to great effect. Cardio is so popular because there is a hefty list of health benefits associated with doing cardio exercises. Some of the top reasons to include cardio in your workout routine are that it strengthens the heart; it strengthens the lungs and increases lung capacity; It boosts the metabolism, burns calories, and helps you lose weight; it helps reduce stress; it increases energy; and it promotes restful sleep. So not only is cardio a great workout, it is also extremely beneficial to a healthy lifestyle, plus it is essential to any activity that requires physical activity.




Types of Cardio


Finding the right type of Cardio exercise is perhaps one of the best parts about getting into the Cardio hobby because there are just so many options to choose from. The problem with this fact is that you will have a hundred people telling you that there are a hundred “best” ways of working out your cardiovascular when in fact there may only be one “best” way for you. The fact is that any activity that you take part in should be fun and interesting to you, otherwise you will give up before you really give it a chance. Of the infinite different workouts available or practiced right now, I’ve attempted to narrow the list of the most common so you can get a tate for what is actually out there across the North America.




Running is the most common kind of cardio exercise that is widely used across the world to promote a healthy cardiovascular. It is enjoyed by people of all age, especially by youngsters, and is accessible to anyone that is willing to give it a shot. Running can take place indoors on a treadmill or in the outdoors, as there is a lot of research that shows that running in fresh air helps to rejuvenate as well as burn calories. Walking is another effective cardio vascular exercise. Half an hour of normal walking can burn about 180 calories. Apart from this, if you like brisk walking, your speed of weight loss will be almost doubled. Like running, it is easy and requires no surplus preparation. Bicycling is another kind of aerobic or cardio exercise that helps in losing oodles of weight. It also magically works on your cardiovascular fitness. Performing it as indoor or outdoor activity entirely depends upon an individual`s choice, but I always prefer the outdoors in order to get fresh air.




Swimming is easily on of the best forms of cardio exercise in summers outdoors and winters indoors. Not only does it help in overall weight and balanced weight loss, but it also provides total support to your joints and reduces the risk of any kind of injury. Rowing is another exercise that can be performed indoors at most gyms on a rowing machine, though at a glance this machine looks complicated in the corner of gym. However, rowing is one of the most effective cardio exercises as it helps in losing about 300 calories in half an hour if done with vigor. Rowing is also a completely different hobby you can take part in if you live near a lake or a marina that has a rowing club that offers rowing lessons.


 


In a typical gym, there will be numerous aerobic classes offered on a day to day basis, but step aerobics is one of the most popular cardio exercises found in gyms. It basically aims on the workout of the legs, hips and butt. It can make you lose 400 calories in half an hour if done with intensity, which is fantastic if you are interested in losing weight. Another type of exercise, which is a standalone hobby like Rowing, is Rock Climbing. Simply put, Rock Climbing is a wonderful cardio exercise and it can help you lose about 380 calories in half an hour, but is meant only for those who are well trained in this art.




Warm Up/Cool Down


When doing cardio work, it is always a good idea to ease yourself into your workout by doing a simply warm-up that will make the actually workout much more effective. A warm-up simply means 5 to 15 minutes of aerobic exercise at a very easy pace. But what exactly does warming up do for you? A warm-up literally warms you up meaning that it increases the temperature in your muscles and in the tissues that connect muscle to bone (tendons) and bone to bone (ligaments). Warmer muscles and joints are more pliable and, therefore, less likely to tear. In other words, a warm-up prevents injuries. Warming up also helps redirect your blood flow from places such as your stomach and spleen to the muscles that you’re using to exercise. This blood flow gives you more stamina by providing your muscles with more nutrients and oxygen. In other words, you tire more quickly if you don’t warm up. Lastly, warming up allows your heart rate to increase at a safe, gradual pace. If you don’t warm up, your heart rate will shoot up too quickly, and you’ll feel like you’re walking through a knee-high snowdrift. Should this happen, you are more likely to quite too early to get an actual benefit from your workout. People who are more out of shape need to warm up the longest because their bodies take longer to get into the exercise groove since their muscles aren’t used to working hard. If you’re a beginner, any exercise is high-intensity exercise, but as you get more fit, your body adapts and becomes more efficient, thereby warming up more quickly. Many people skip their warm-up because they’re in a hurry because it seems like a less effective use of their time. With the risks associated with not warming up before your cardio workout, it is a far better idea to add an extra 15 minutes to you entire workout, plus you will have a lot more fun.




Just like the warm up aspect of a great cardio workout, the cool down portion of your workout is just as important, but also skipped far too often. After a cardio workout, you should always remember to cool down before resting, which means that you shouldn’t stop suddenly and make a dash for the shower or plop on the couch. You have to ease out of your workout just as you eased into it during a warm-up via walking, jogging, or cycling lightly. The purpose of the cool down is the reverse of what you accomplished during the warm-up. At this point, your heart is jumping, and blood is pumping furiously through your muscles to ensure proper oxygenation. You want your body to redirect the blood flow back to normal before you rush on with the rest of your day. You also want your body temperature to decrease before you hop into a hot or cold shower; otherwise, you risk fainting. Cooling down essentially prevents your blood from pooling in one place, such as your legs by returning your blood flow to normal. When you suddenly stop exercising, your blood can quickly collect, which can lead to dizziness, nausea, and fainting. If you’re really out of shape or at high risk for heart disease, skipping a cool down can place undue stress on your heart. The risks of not doing a 15 minute cool down at the end of your workout is not worth the health issues that will result from the loss of fifteen minutes of you day. Take your time, warm-up/cool down, and have fun.




Monitoring Your Heart Rate


Monitoring your heart rate during cardio exercises is the only way you can truly guarantee you are getting a great workout. When you first get into doing cardio work, it is often the case that you do not know how hard to push yourself to get the workout you need. The fact is that when you are a beginner, your heart has to work a lot harder to keep up with your body’s demands for blood and oxygen. If you work out on a regular basis, your aerobic system gradually becomes more efficient and you may need to step up the difficulty of your workout. Monitoring your resting heart rate should be your starting point in order to see what you normal heart rate is versus your exercise heart rate. Your resting heart rate is the number of times your heart beats per minute when you’re just sitting around. When you start exercising, your resting heart rate may be as high as 90. But after a few months of exercising, your resting heart rate may drop 10 or 20 beats per minute.




Taking your pulse manually can be wildly inaccurate, so you have to concentrate when you do it. The simplest place to take your own pulse is at your wrist, but many people also find it easy to take their pulse on their own neck. Rest your middle and index fingertips (not your thumb as it also has a pulse) lightly on your opposite wrist, directly below the base of your thumb. Most people can see the faint bluish line of their radial artery, which is exactly where you want to place it. Count the beats for 1 minute. Or, if you have a short attention span like me, count for 30 seconds and multiply by 2. During your workout, take your pulse about every 15 minutes and be sure to concentrate, which can be quite difficult when working on a machine or in a class. You may want to slow down or even stop while you take your pulse, which is quite disruptive to your workout, but it’s not nearly as disruptive as flying off a treadmill.




The other option for measuring your heart rate is to purchase an electronic heart-rate monitor so that you don’t need to stop exercising or take the time to count anything to check you r heart rate. At any given moment you can find out your heart rate by glancing at your wrist. A good monitor offers features such as a clock, a timer, and an alarm that you can set to beep when you wander out of your target zone. Thanks to modern technology, most cardio equipment in gyms these days have built in heart rate monitors that will automatically keep track of your target zones, heart rates, and all your other stats plus show them all to you on the monitor while you are working out. This makes a more effective workout, and it will save you some money in the process.




Conclusion


While it may not be the most fun when you first start the hobby, as you’re cardiovascular develops, you will find that the activity has tremendous benefits that are spread throughout one’s life. In a nutshell, a great cardiovascular workout will strengthen the heart and lungs, plus it increases lung capacity. It should also be noted that smokers will not have too much fun with this type of hobby because smoking destroys your cardiovascular system by inhaling tobacco smoke. A quick workout may force you into considering to quite for good. These workouts also boost your metabolism, burns calories, and help you lose weight, which is generally the purpose behind taking up this hobby. Aerobic exercise helps reduce stress by burring off unwanted energy, and it promotes restful sleep. The fact is that a healthy life will always incorporate at least some cardio workouts in their day to day life. It is this that children are lack during their day to day lives these days because it is far more common to see a young kid in front of a video game than actually outside doing things. The nice thing is that all the new counsels have new games that force people off of the couch in order to play their precious video games. Most systems actually have workout software that is achieving promoting a healthy lifestyle. The fact remains that the best way to get healthy, lose weight, and tone your muscles is to participate in daily cardio workouts.