This is the time of year when most people are looking to lose weight. Holiday season is over and summer days spent at the beach are just around the corner. Unfortunately while many have the intention of getting fit not everyone knows where to begin. Everyone needs to start somewhere, right? Getting up and getting moving is a great start but it is difficult if you do not know what kind of exercise would be best for you. Cardiovascular exercise (or cardio) is the best type of exercise to start with. Cardio exercise will raise your heart rate to a working level but not leave you out of breath.
Cardiovascular exercise has many benefits for those who do it. Cardio exercise is known to burn calories which will help to maintain or lose weight. There are several very important health benefits as well, besides losing weight. Cardio exerecise can help increase your lung capacity, make your heart stronger so it does not have to work as hard which also lowers your risk for a heart attack, and it also lowers your risk for diseases such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol. Not only does cardio exercise have health benefits but mental ones as well. It is scientifically proven that working out releases endorphins that help to relieve stress, make you feel better, and sleep better as well. The benefits to performing cardio exercises are many while the risks are few.
Finding the time to exercise in our already jam-packed schedules is not always easy, however determining what type of cardio workout you would prefer could help you fit it into your day. The first and most obvious place to workout is the gym. Joining a gym will give you access to their cardio equipment such as treadmills, elliptical trainers, stair machines, stationary bikes, and various other cardio machines. Gyms often offer their members cardio classes as well such as yoga, zumba, or kickboxing. Maybe you're more of an outdoors person? No problem! Being outside can offer many cardio exercises. Walking, running, swimming, hiking, and biking are all good cardio activities that can be done outside. Perhaps you're more social? Many areas have a local group that meet up to exercise together. Look into a local walking club or a fit camp. Even join a local sports team or get your friends to do cardio together. If you're more of a homebody there are many television programs, videos, or dvds you can follow along with an instructor for a good cardio workout.
How often and how long you do cardio for should depend on what your goal is. The harder you work and the more frequently you exercise, the more calories you will burn. If you are not sure of your fitness level start at 30 minutes per session. You can work your way up to an hour. To maintain your weight try working out for 2-3 days a week. To lose weight exercise 4-5 days a week. Try to sneak in cardio throughout your normal day- park further away, take the stairs, or work a little faster around the house.
Keep in mind that there is no one cardio exercise that is best. What is best is getting out and getting moving. Find an activity you enjoy and stick with it. If you're interested in a new form of cardio, don't be afraid to give it a try. Just make sure that you are getting in cardio exercise between three and five times a week for at least a half hour to an hour a day to maximize your results.