Cardio is any exercise that keeps your heart rate up for a prolonged period of time - generally 20 minutes or more.
Cardio can be done in many different ways, with or without equipment. It can be 'steady-state', which refers to working at a continued pace for time, e.g. a long jog, and is good for endurance. It can also be done in the form of HIIT (High-Intensity Interval Training), where you work in short, intense bursts with minimal rest between rounds. Both types of exercise are good for improving your cardiovascular health, but the right one for you depends on your goals.
If you're looking to burn fat without losing as much muscle mass, HIIT will probably be your preference. Steady-state cardio may be best for you if you're training for endurance and heart/lung health.
What equipment do you need for Cardio?
Cardio can be done using no equipment at all, but some accessories can aid a bodyweight session; for example, a gym mat is spongy enough to absorb some impact from jumping movements, helping to protect your joints. If you do want to invest in a larger piece of cardio equipment, you can't go wrong with a treadmill. With a treadmill, you can walk, jog, run and lunge to your heart's content without having to leave the house. A treadmill also has an amount of bounce to absorb some of the impact from your steps and is therefore much better for your joints than pounding the pavement.
What are the health benefits of improved Cardio?
Check out our blogs for more information on introducing cardio into your workout. Cardio is short for cardiovascular - this refers to your heart, blood vessels and blood, which carry oxygen and nutrients around your body. To state the obvious, cardiovascular health is very important and is something everyone should be aware of. Improved cardiovascular health has all kinds of benefits, such as strengthening your immune system and reducing your blood pressure and risk of heart disease.
Should we do Cardio every day?
Cardio should be a part of your everyday life, but this doesn't mean having to do a full treadmill workout every day. The UK guidelines for aerobic exercise are at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity activity, or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity activity a week. One of the best forms of cardio is actually walking, so it's a good start to aim for 10,000 steps per day.