Common Questions about Cardiovascular Exercise

Feb 04, 2011

Written by Brianna Minard, Membership Consultant, O2 Fitness Wilmington

What is cardiovascular exercise?

Cardio is an activity performed for an extended period of time that requires an increase in oxygen delivered to the muscles. This can be walking, jogging or an RPM class.

How hard should I actually be working?

The easiest way to determine how hard you should be working is by determining your target heart rate zone. Once you have figured this out, the goal is to stay within that zone to get the most effective workout for your heart and lungs. Do you have questions about how to figure out what your target heart rate is? Just see one of our certified personal trainers for a fitness assessment and they can help you figure it out!

Is cardiovascular activity the most important exercise for weight loss?

A good resistance training program is the most important part of any fat/weight loss program. Cardiovascular exercise will help you burn calories during that 30-60 minute session and it should always be included to keep your heart and lungs healthy. However, strength training helps you burn calories during the workout and up to 38 hours after. Don’t forget about strengthening, which is a very important part of your fitness program!

What is the difference between cardiovascular and strengthening exercise?

These are two completely different types of exercise. Each has a very different purpose and gives very different results. CV exercise primarily improves your muscular endurance but does little for strengthening the muscles. Strengthening will improve your muscle strength but will do very little for endurance. BOTH are important and necessary. CV is the best thing we can do to not only help burn calories but to prevent heart problems and many other diseases. Strengthening is critical for keeping our bones and joints healthy and strong and to also aid in a fat loss program.

How often should I be exercising?

You should be preforming cardiovascular exercise where you get and keep your heart rate up in your target heart rate zone for at least 30 minutes, three times a week. Cardiovascular exercise takes less recovery time than strengthening so you can perform it more often! Remember the benefits of exercise happen while you are recovering so allow your body adequate rest.

What is the best type of cardiovascular exercise?

The best form is the one you prefer as long as you can perform it without any pain in the joints. Your favorite cardiovascular exercise is going to be the one you are able to stick with forever. This could be walking on the treadmill or even a group exercise class like Body Combat!

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