Why is cardio so good for you? There are a number of reasons, actually. Cardio exercise gets the heart rate up for a prolonged time. It increases breathing, gets the blood pumping, fills the blood with oxygen, and then releases endorphins. This physical response is good for several reasons, including:
- Improves mood
- Helps to prevent cardiovascular disease
- Helps to maintain a healthy body weight
- Increases life expectancy
- Tones muscles
- Builds strength
- Produces more consistent energy
The body produces redox signaling molecules, which keep oxidative stress from getting out of control. Oxidative stress is one of the main culprits in all diseases. Cellular tissues benefit from the redox molecules released during exercise. In fact, redox molecules may improve a person’s ability to perform physically and shorten exercise recovery time.
The Big Three
When you hear cardio, the three main types of cardio tend to be the most popular options. Those big three are:
These are great workouts to get the heart pumping and the blood flowing. But they aren’t for everyone. However, since cardio is so important for living a healthy lifestyle, it’s nice to know there are dozens of different types of cardio workouts, and getting your cardio in can actually be fun.
Looking for a fun, challenging workout that will make an hour fly by? Try going to a dance class at your gym like Zumba or U Jam. Guided dance workouts get the heart rate up and the blood pumping while incorporating great music and fun instruction.
Plus, dancing isn’t limited to the gym. You can do it in the privacy of your home, with or without a YouTube video for guidance. Or spend a weekend night at a dance club burning off calories and socializing. Getting the body moving is key!
Tabata, named after the man who invented it, is a great way to get in some cardio and work your muscles. It is a type of high-intensity interval training with workout sprints that last for four minutes. You push as hard as you can for 20 seconds, rest for ten seconds, and then repeat for four minutes. Exercises in Tabata include push-ups, squats, burpees, or mountain climbers. Gyms around the world offer Tabata workouts. They can also be streamed online and done in the home.
Indoor cycling classes are a great option for cardio. They are intense, guided classes that increase cardio endurance, burn calories, and strengthen muscles.
This is probably the easiest cardio exercise to fit into any schedule, plus it has great benefits. Walking cuts your risk of cardiovascular disease by 31%. It also boosts the immune system, increases muscle strength, and reduces body fat. Try walking to work or walking on your lunch break. Walk to close appointments instead of driving, or try parking at the farthest spot in the parking lot every time you go somewhere. Even getting little bursts of walking can add up in the long run. Pop in your earbuds while you walk and listen to some great music, a podcast, or an audiobook.
Every gym has them, and for good reason. Cardio machines provide a fantastic workout.
- Elliptical machine. Designed to have a very low impact on hip and knee joints, these machines offer a great cardio workout.
- Stairclimber. Because you step up the stairs continually, more muscles are used in this cardio workout.
- Recumbent bike. Much more comfortable than upright bikes, the recumbent bike offers a seat and backrest that make riding for a long time easy while burning calories.
- Rowing machine. The rowing machine is a full-body workout that burns a lot of calories.
Off the Beaten Path
There are so many different types of cardio, they can’t all be listed. Hiking, organized sports, inline skating, and water aerobics are just a few more ideas to get you thinking. The hard part might not be the workout itself, but choosing to be brave enough to try new things—and then deciding what new option is the best fit.
To find out more about how exercise and redox signaling improve health at the cellular level, check out how athletes have used ASEA cellular supplements to stay at their prime. And then see how else ASEA can help you feel your best by powering your potential.