The heart is one of the most important internal organs in the body and exercising is one of the most vital ways to keep the heart completely healthy.
It is important to get your heart pumping with the right cardio exercises. These exercises are good to maintain perfect heart health and substantially reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases.
In this article, I am going to introduce you to some cardio exercises and some exercise machines you can add to your home gym to consistently get your heart racing and maintain good cardio health.
What are the Cardio Exercises?
There are so many misconceptions about cardio workouts with so many thinking it’s just about exercises like jogging and running. However, cardio exercises or workouts can simply be referred to as any activities that are capable of increasing your heartbeat and breathing rate, thereby improving the functionality of the heart, lung, and the entire circulatory system.
Therefore, for an activity to be categorized as cardio, it must not only increase your heartbeat and breathing rate, it must provide an overall improvement to your cardiovascular system.
How the Cardiovascular System Benefits from Cardio Workout
Strengthens the Heart
Heart beating faster is a perfect way to strengthen the muscles of the heart. The heart is made of muscles and surrounded by muscles, getting involved in an activity that increases your heartbeat tends to exercise this muscle and thereby make them stronger. The stronger your heart, the efficient it will be to carry out its major activities.
Improves Blood Flow
Once the heart is strong and the muscle around it strengthened, it gives it more power, thereby making the heart more efficient in pumping blood. This in turn improves circulation and blood flow. Furthermore, cardio exercises help burn fat and reduce cholesterol that could prevent proper blood flow in the circulation system.
Lower Blood Pressure
A strong heart pumps enough blood with just one beat and that enables efficiency. With this, there will be less pressure on the heart and the arteries that surround it. Therefore, people with high blood pressure can benefit greatly from cardio exercises as it will significantly help in reducing blood pressure.
Burns Fat and Reduce Cholesterol Level
Having excess fat in the body is not a good one for cardiovascular health. There are many harmful effects of high cholesterol, especially to the circulatory system. Regular cardio exercise will burn excess fat, thereby lowering cholesterol levels and therefore improve cardiovascular health.
Reduces the Risk of Cardiovascular Disease
Of course, a regular cardio workout will strengthen your heart and the entire circulatory system which ultimately reduces your chance of getting a cardio disease.
Improves Healthy Living
Regular exercises including cardio workouts will improve your overall body health. It will help you maintain a healthy weight, normal BMI (body mass index), decreases the stress level in the body, and generally ensure better and healthier living.
Top Cardio Exercises/Workout to Improve Cardiovascular Health
Low-Intensity Cardio Workout
Low-intensity workouts are the exercises that occur slowly for a long period of time, say 20 minutes and above. There are many of them you should consider engaging to get your heart pumping and improve overall cardiovascular health:
- Running: This is a fast pace and it sure gets your heart to beat faster. Either you decided to do it on your treadmill, around the home, or a long-distance run in your neighborhood.
- Cycling: It is also a good cardio workout for your cardiovascular health. Cycling can be done on a bicycle or stationary exercise bike.
- Jogging: This is also an effective low-intensity cardio workout to improve your overall body health. It can be done on a treadmill too or in an open and safe place around the neighborhood.
- Walking: Surprisingly, walking is also a very effective way to get your cardio health on track.
- Rowing: This is also an effective low-intensity workout. It involves both the upper and lower body, thereby improves your full-body fitness and also benefits the cardiovascular.
High-Intensity Workout (HIIT)
These exercises are also very effective and should be considered alongside the low intensity. HIIT is an anaerobic exercise which means, you do not breathe (no oxygen) when performing them and they only occur for a short period.
When you burst into this exercise, it takes place for a short time and during this time, your heart rate increased/elevated. There should be a rest of 15 seconds between each interval and it can be done repeatedly for as long as your body can handle.
This is a combination of squats and jumps and pushups. 10 minutes of burpees will definitely increase your heartbeat rate. Not only will it increase your heart rate, but it also will burn far and reduce excess cholesterol in the body.
Top Exercise Machines you should consider for Cardio
Stationary Exercise Bike
This will give you a great cycling experience right from the comfort of your home. The machine has been smartly made to mimic outdoor cycling and its adjustable resistance levels make it easier to challenge yourself and improve fitness.
Most importantly, it gets your heart to beat faster and increases your breathing rate which ultimately improves your cardiovascular health.
There are three types of exercise bike:
- Upright Stationary Exercise Bike: It looks more like a bicycle and rides the same way. The exercise is more intense and has the most impact on the body than other types of exercise bike.
- Recumbent Stationary Exercise Bike: This is also effective, great for the seniors but less effective than the upright exercise bike.
- Mini/Pedal Exerciser: This is more suitable for people who live a sedentary lifestyle either sitting all day in front of their PC or due to one ailment or the other. They are small and they can be fixed under the table for all-day use.
Read more: Best Exercise Bike
This is total body workout equipment for home use, though, it can be found in a commercial gym as well. It gives a total body workout and there are some exercises you will perform on it to also get your heart beat faster and your breathing rate increased.
Rowing is done on a boat; however, there is equipment that simulates this experience right from your home or commercial gym. This exercise will get your heart to beat faster and that makes rowing machines one of the most important exercise machines for cardio.
There are three types of rowing and they differ based on their resistance mechanism:
- Air Rower: This makes use of wind to generate resistance and increases the difficulty to challenge the user. This resistance responds to pull on the handle. The faster you pull the handle, the higher the resistance.
- Water Rower: Just like air rowers, this type uses water as the resistance mechanism. It always comes with a water tank and resistance also adjusts to the intensity of rowing.
- Magnetic Rower: Here, the rower uses the magnetic field (Eddies Current) to generate resistance. You will need to set your resistance to your fitness level. Unlike the other two, this will not adjust the difficulty of rowing intensity.
Running, walking, and jogging are some of the most effective cardio exercises and both can be done on a treadmill. This is an interesting exercise machine that affords you the opportunity to run, jog, or walk for any distance right at the comfort of your home. It is beneficial for cardio health and one of the exercise machines to get your heart pumping.
Outdoor cycling is also a good one for cardiovascular health, thereby, making the bicycle one of the top exercise machines for cardio.
Fitness is essential, and that includes cardiovascular health. There are some exercises that target this while there are exercise machines as discussed above that are capable of getting your heartbeat and breathing faster.
It is important to exercise the heart and that is what cardio exercises target. This will strengthen the heart muscles, makes the muscle stronger, and ultimately help the heart work more efficiently and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.