Cardio is a word frequently used in the health and wellness fields and is short for cardiovascular exercise. It applies to any form of exercise that increases your heart rate, respiratory rate, and blood circulation. Getting your cardio in each day is important. It can be important in helping you overcome aches and pains and helps you elevate your heart rate for a sustained period of time even if you break up workouts into smaller ones. Performing regular cardio activities is a proven way to not only burn calories and lose weight but also to help raise your HDL (the good cholesterol) and control diabetes and blood pressure. Performing regular cardio activities reduces your risk of a stroke and improves your stamina, which can help you do your work more efficiently and with less fatigue.
So how do you know if you are exercising intensely enough to receive these benefits? The “talk test” is a great way to monitor the intensity of your workout. If you are active but can still talk while exercising, then you are likely exercising at a moderate level of intensity. When you’re exercising at a harder level and can no longer hold a conversation and can say only a few words before taking a breath, you are at a vigorous intensity level of exercise. Including a combination of these levels of exercise in your regular exercise is a great way to ensure that you are getting all the health benefits that cardio can provide.
Here are some exercise suggestions that typically fit in the moderate-intensity or vigorous intensity categories to help you find ways to incorporate both into your regular routines:
Moderate Intensity Exercise Examples
Water aerobics or water walking
Leisurely bike rides on flat surfaces
Playing Frisbee or catch with a football
Washing your truck or car
Vigorous Intensity Exercise Examples
Race walking, jogging, running
Bike riding on hills
Always be sure to speak with your medical provider before starting an exercise routine, especially if you are managing medical conditions. It is also important to listen to your body when doing any type of exercise. Every day is different and everybody’s body responds differently, so take note of what your body is telling you especially when determining what level of intensity of cardio to perform.
We know that getting started can be a challenge. Be sure to work with a CDL Wellness Coach for support, goals setting, ideas, and accountability on your well-being journey. We’re here to help!