Did you realize the heart is a muscle? Doing cardiovascular exercise, also known as “cardio” or aerobic training, strengthens the heart! It also has many other benefits, like improving your body’s ability to distribute and utilize oxygen. More aerobically fit individuals utilize a higher percentage of fat for energy during exercise.
Exercise is aerobic in nature if it involves repetitive movement, large muscle groups, and can be sustained for several minutes or longer. Examples include walking, running, stairclimbing, using an elliptical trainer, swimming, rowing, biking, skating, cross country skiing, etc.
To ensure that you are working at a sustainable intensity during cardio exercise, it is useful to find your heart rate training zones. Heart rate increases proportionally to intensity of exercise, therefore we can determine a heart rate range that ensures you are not working too hard, but also working hard enough to experience the benefits.