Cardiovascular exercise is also known as aerobic exercise and it is a term that refers to exercises that involve leg muscles with an intense participation of lungs and heart. The word ‘aerobic’ refers to anything that needs air, as during a cardiovascular exercise oxygen is continuously delivered to the muscles. Specialists speak in favor of cardio workouts because they have numerous health benefits. However, in order to reap the fruits of such training, you have to exercise at a certain intensity level.
The machines now available in gyms have heart rate monitors to help people track the amount of exertion during cardiovascular exercise. You can also come across notions like ‘target heart rate zone’ as a way to define the part of the cardiovascular exercise that stimulates the entire body at an optimal level, thus improving health. The heart rate can also be monitored manually, by counting the heart beats per minute.
The target heart rate zone ranges between 50% and 85% of your maximum heart rate. The latter can be determined by your doctor, or calculated roughly by the following formula:
- for women – 226 minus their age;
- for men – 220 minus their age.
If you reach the target heart rate zone during cardiovascular exercise, it is believed that you enjoy the benefits of a good workout. Opinions are divided in relation to the use of cardio training for weight loss.
While some instructors say that 30 to 60 minutes of cardio three times per week work wonders for weight loss, other prefer short, high intensity cardio exercises for efficient weight loss.
There is a third category of ‘specialists’ who claim that cardiovascular exercise routines are not necessary at all for optimal fitness and good health.
Yet, cardio is a big part of people’s life particularly when you have a favorite sport that you practice regularly: running, cycling, hiking, swimming or dance. These are all activities that involve more or less intense cardiovascular exercise.
Our body needs it, and we totally engage in such activities without giving them labels. Following personal preferences in the choice of physical activities has so many advantages: it helps one stay motivated, it improves mind frame, it gives a boost to our health and it maintains fitness.
Therefore, you don’t always need an electronic display to measure your heart rate when you go out for a good run. As long as you feel good exercising, who’s counting?