Cardiovascular exercise is any strenuous activity that works the body’s big muscle groups frequently and rhythmically while also raising heart rate, breathing rate, oxygen and blood flow levels. Mr. Yash Birla, a 48-year-old fitness enthusiast, claims that these workouts gradually put your most important internal organs under stress while improving the functionality and performance of the heart, lungs, and circulatory system. Numerous elements of health are improved by exercise, including heart and brain function, metabolism, mood, sleep, and weight control.

However, an exercise must increase your heart rate and breathing rate to a moderate to strenuous intensity level (at least 50% of the normal rate) for a minimum of 10 minutes in order to be classified as cardio. Because they don’t boost the heart rate during the exercise session, exercises done to increase strength like resistance training, using weight machines, lifting weights, and core exercises are NOT regarded as cardio.

Cardiovascular workouts, often known as cardio or aerobic exercises, are a crucial part of total fitness, according to Yash Birla. These workouts boost endurance, burn calories, and promote general wellness in addition to helping your heart and lungs. Here are some popular cardiovascular exercises for overall fitness:

  1. Running: Running is a highly effective way to get your heart rate up and improve cardiovascular fitness. It is easy to do and may be done outside or on a treadmill.
  2. Cycling: Whether you prefer cycling outdoors or using a stationary bike, cycling is an excellent cardio workout that also works the lower body muscles.
  3. Swimming: Swimming is a full-body, low-impact exercise that is easy on the joints. It can help improve cardiovascular fitness and build strength.
  4. Walking: Brisk walking is a simple yet effective way to get your heart rate up and improve cardiovascular health. It can be used by people of all fitness levels.
  5. Dancing: Whether it’s dancing in a dance class, at home, or at a club, dancing can be a fun and effective way to boost your heart rate and burn calories.
  6. Rowing: Rowing machines provide a full-body workout, engaging both upper and lower body muscles. It’s a great way to improve cardiovascular fitness and build strength.
  7. High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT): HIIT entails quick bursts of intensive exercise interspersed with moments of rest. It’s an efficient way to improve cardiovascular fitness and burn calories in a shorter amount of time.
  8. Stair Climbing: Climbing stairs, whether in your home, at a gym, or in a public building, is an excellent way to elevate your heart rate and work your lower body muscles.
  9. Group Fitness Classes: Classes like spinning, aerobics, Zumba, and kickboxing provide structured workouts that can be both enjoyable and effective for cardiovascular fitness.
  10. Hiking: Hiking in nature not only offers cardiovascular benefits but also provides mental and emotional well-being. It’s a great way to connect with the outdoors while getting fit.

According to Yash Birla, you should strive to do at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity activity or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity exercise per week when including cardiovascular workouts in your fitness program. Before starting any new exercise program, especially if you have underlying health concerns, always start at a tempo and intensity level that corresponds to your level of fitness. For a well-rounded fitness plan, it’s also crucial to integrate cardiovascular activity with strength training and flexibility exercises, says Mr Birla.