Cardio fitness is more than just weight loss and body shapes. It is about being in the best shape of your life and to continually strive to be fitter, stronger and healthier. It holds in numerous health benefits and should be a goal we all strive for. And, as a side effect, cardio fitness reduces your body fat percentage.
So striving for cardio fitness should be more for health reasons than for body shape reasons. If we can focus on that, it will be much easier and a more positive way than to focus on being fat or thin – images that can easily provoke negative feelings. So keeping that in mind, let’s have a look at what it actually means to be cardio fit, what the benefits are of having excellent cardio fitness and how you can make sure that you also achieve cardio fitness.
In this article, I’ll answer some of the most commonly asked questions about cardio fitness. Let’s start by looking at the definition of cardio fitness:
What is cardio fitness?
Cardio is derived from the word cardiovascular system. So being fit has as effect on your cardiovascular system. The definition of cardio fitness is: How well a person can extract oxygen from the air into his/her lungs, to be transferred into the blood system and pumped via the heart to the muscles – where the muscles uses this oxygen to oxidize carbs and fat for use as energy.
So in short, if you have excellent cardio fitness, your ability to use your stored fat and excess carbs for energy is better than people who are not that cardio fit.
What are the benefits of having excellent cardio fitness?
Being cardio fit has many health and other benefits. Let’s look at a few of them:
Having excellent cardio fitness can lengthen your life span by improving your resting heart rate and circulation (more on that below). If your heart stays well functioning longer, you also have the ability to life longer. If you have small (or other) dependants, it should be an excellent benefit for you.
As your body can oxidize (burn) excess carbs and fat faster than the other non-cardio fit person, you will be looking leaner in no time. Your body fat percentage will be lower and it will show on your clothes and in the mirror.
Boosts self-confidence and body image
As you will be looking better, your self confidence will grow and as you do more cardio or other exercise, you will also have an increased body image – from looking better and from feeling better.
Makes you a stronger and fit person
You won’t be catching your breath as often and your cardiovascular system will be working better, making you stronger and increasing your cardio fitness even more.
Improved heart health and circulation
Having excellent cardio fitness also reduces your resting heart rate and increases your blood circulation. This means that your heart can pump more blood and in effect beat slower. This is an excellent health goal to strive for.
How can I improve my cardio aerobic fitness?
Lets look at what aerobic means and then how you can use it to improve your own cardio aerobic fitness levels.
Aerobic means the ability to persevere or to do strenuous prolonged activities.
Doing aerobic exercises would include any exercise in which you use your large muscles like your legs.
If you want to improve your cardio aerobic fitness, you can do the following exercises:
- Aerobics and Kickboxing classes
- Walking, jogging or running
- And Rowing
What is the best way to improve my cardio fitness?
The best way to improve your cardio fitness is to do interval training. If you do cardio & fitness exercises that are too strenuous for too long a time, the cardio fitness abilities becomes limited and you may even hurt yourself by becoming fatigued and injured by the acids your body produces.
To do interval cardio training, you warm-up for 5 minutes and then take the pace up every few minutes until you break out in sweat from intense effort – that’s your peak cardio fitness level (where you burn the most carbs and fat), and you shouldn’t take the pace up higher than that. Repeat the cycle until you reach about 20-30 minutes.
What cardio fitness equipment is there?
There is plenty of cardio fitness equipment that can help you achieve your goal. Some of them are:
- The good old jumping rope
- A stepping machine
- A pedometer to count your steps
- Heart rate monitors to check your heart rate
- Water for swimming
- Your own two feet
What’s the best cardio fitness exercise if you don’t have access to a gym?
You don’t need access to a gym to increase your cardio fitness. You only need some good training shoes and a safe place to run. Running is one of the best home fitness cardio there is. Just make sure you are safe when you run.
Some cardio fitness training tips to keep in mind
- Dress for exercise – Wear comfortable clothes and good training shoes and if you are exercising outside make sure that you are visible.
- Warm up before your workout – Walk briskly for 5 minutes to warm your muscles up.
- Stretch – Have a good stretch afterwards to lengthen your muscles and to avoid injuries.
- Don’t overexert yourself – Don’t exercise yourself to exhaustion, but rather take it slowly up and then down.
What will the best cardio fitness machine be for me?
There are lots of cardio fitness machines available these days, so finding the right one for you is just a matter of time. The important thing to remember is to choose a machine that you would enjoy. Here are a few you can look into:
- Treadmills – If you like running, and you prefer not to be bounded by the weather, the treadmill would be perfect for you. You can walk, jog and run on it and you can even adjust the incline to work your butt and calves more.
- Elliptical machines – This is probably my favorite cardio fitness machine, as you work your whole body at once while working on your fitness levels.
- The Cardio Twister fitness machine – This machine combines the benefit of a stepping machine with a core body workout (targets your abs, your lower back and hip flexors). It has a 5 function digital display and comes out with a meal plan and 2 workout DVDs.
- The Malibu Pilates chair – This is one of the only Pilates machines that also offer cardio fitness benefits. It is also similar to a stepping machine.
The best exercise to lose weight
When you want to lose weight, you don’t want to waste your valuable exercise time doing the wrong exercises and neither do you want to do exercises that will take forever to help you lose weight.
In order to make your weight loss goals a reality you want to do the best exercise to lose weight and you want to eat the correct things to support your weight loss. When you do this, you will see results faster and you will become less frustrated and more motivated . This is why I will share with you the number one best exercise to lose weight fast.
We will also have a look at some other questions you may have about other exercises and equipment and I will share with you some great resources to make your weight loss journey even faster and easier. Let’s begin!
What is the best exercise to lose weight?
Both cardio and weight training are very important to lose weight. But the problem with cardio is that, the more you do of it, the more likely is the chance that you may start burning away your lean muscle mass for energy. But as muscles are very important for fat loss and to boost your metabolism and thus calories burnt, we need to avoid that.
The solution is to combine high intensity quick bursts of both cardio and weight training into circuit training. This really makes circuit training the absolute best exercise to lose weight quickly. The reason for this being that you will maximize your calories burned by burning calories while you workout as well as taking that calories burned further into your day and still burning calories even 48 hours after your circuit training session. You may wonder how that is possible – the reason for this is that building muscle increases your metabolism, which increases the rate at which your body burns calories during the day.
You can either make you own circuit or you can follow the one given below. Depending on your fitness levels you want to spend between 20 to 60 minutes on the circuit. If you are an absolute beginner, begin with 20 minutes first and then build your way up to 30. Remember to warm up before and to stretch all your muscles after.
How to do the best exercise to lose weight
Circuit training can be done almost anywhere – at gym (most gyms have a circuit centre), or at home – making circuit training also one of the best exercise to lose weight at home. You will need a pair of dumbbells, and a jumping rope and maybe some other equipment if you like to do the circuit. We will look at the best exercise equipment to lose weight in the next paragraph, but first I will share with you a sample circuit training workout. You can adjust yours with any other exercises as you like.
The best exercise to lose weight fast – Circuit training program
Sample circuit training program
- Warm up for 5 minutes – Warm up lightly by taking a brisk walk or doing any light cardio exercise for 5 minutes
- Lunges – Do 15 lunges. Stand with feet together and then take one step forward, bend from the knees and step back.
- Jump rope – Jump rope for another 2-3 minutes
- Push ups – Do 15 pushups
- Jumping jacks – Do 20 jumping jacks
- Squats – Do 15 squats
- Box shuffle – Get on the tips of your toes and keeping your hands in a boxing position, quickly shuffle from left to right keeping on the tips of your toes.
- Crunches – Do 15 crunches
- Jump rope – Jump rope again for 2-3 minutes
- Calf rises – Do 15 calf rises
- Jumping jacks – Do 15 jumping jacks
- Bicep curls – Do 15 bicep curls
- Box shuffle – Repeat the box shuffle again
- Oblique crunches – Do 15 crunches but crunch to the side targeting the obliques. (Repeat on the other side)
- Jump rope -Jump rope again
- Shoulder press – Do 15 shoulder presses
- Jog on the spot – Lightly jog on the spot
- Upright row – Hold 2 dumbbells standing with your feet hip width apart, bent forward keeping your arms at your sit. Gently row the dumbbells upwards with your elbows pointed, lower to the ground and repeat for 15 times.
- Jump rope – Jump rope again
- Brisk walk – To cool down after your great workout, take a brisk walk or participate in other light cardio exercise for about 5 minutes.
- Stretch – Remember to gently stretch all the muscles worked.
Depending on your fitness levels, the circuit can either be repeated or you can build your own circuit where you only target the upper body muscles at one session and then target your lower body muscles at the nest session. Just remember to alternate a cardio exercise with a weight training exercise and not to rest between exercises until your circuit is complete.
What’s the best cardio exercise to lose weight?
If you love cardio and you want to know how to do it to get best results, the best cardio exercise to lose weight is to do interval training as it burns the most fat and the most calories.
Here is a list of cardio equipment and machines to get you started:
- Treadmill – The motorised treadmill is great for walking and running
- Exercise equipment mat – Make sure to use a treadmill mat under all your cardio machines
- Cross trainers – Elliptical cross trainers exercises the upper and lower body at once.
- Exercise bike – The mini exercise bike is small enough to take with you where ever you go.
- Stepper machines – The mini stepper is compact and slim
What’s the best exercise equipment to lose weight?
All exercise equipment are beneficial to losing weight, but if I had to name the best exercise equipment to lose weight, it would probably be dumbell weights and a jumping rope.
Here are lists of other exercise equipment you can have a look at
- Adjustable dumbells – adjustable dumbells can be adjusted to multiple weight loads
- Gym bench – You will need a gym bench to do weight lifting on.
- Sit up bench – A sit up bench will assist in building strong abs.
- Squat rack – Use the squat rack to assist with squats and chest exercises.
What’s the best exercise machine to lose weight?
Again, most exercise machines are great for losing weight. But if I had to choose one it will have to be a cardio machine. I’d say that the best exercise machine to lose weight is probable the elliptical as it works your upper and lower body at the same time.
Here is a list of more exercise machines for you to have a look at
- Pilates chair – The pilates chair is a chair that is used to practice Pilates on
- Pilates machines – Pilates machines assists in Pilates exercise.
What’s the best aerobic exercise to lose weight?
If you love aerobics and you want to know which one will help you lose weight the fastest, it will be an exercise that is high intensity. So I’d say that both kickboxing and step classes are some of the best aerobic exercise to lose weight.
What about running – is running the best exercise to lose weight?
You may wonder about running – is running the best exercise to lose weight? And I would say yes and no. For one – yes because your scale will definitely be showing that you have lost weight, but that weight will probably be because of your muscle loss. And no – because you need muscles to maximize your calorie burn.
So what is the best exercise to lose weight quickly? Without no doubt it is circui
t training, as circuit training maximizes the calories and fat burned. But any exercise is good to lose weight, as exercise burns calories and that will make you lose weight.
BUT the important thing to remember is that your good efforts will be worthless if you take in more calories than you consume. This means that you will have to follow a balanced, low calorie eating plan and eat plenty of fat burning fruits to get the best results. Good luck and never give up!