February is Heart Health Month! 

The American Heart Association recommends cardio exercise as a way to maximize your heart health. A good goal is to achieve at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity activity or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity exercise during the week. 

Curious about the benefits of cardio exercise, and the different types of cardio training? Keep reading to learn more. 

Looking to get active, but not sure where to start? Our experts can help! Schedule a Fitness Physical to help you achieve your fitness goals while getting the most out of your workout. 

Long-Term Benefits of Cardio Exercise 

According to the CDC, “physical activity is one of the best things you can do for your health.” 

It is well known that cardio burns calories, which can help with weight management and fend off the risk of disease associated with obesity. Regular exercise is also known to help manage existing metabolic and heart conditions and may decrease the need for medication related to heart health.

Additional benefits include: 

  • Stronger bones and muscles 
  • Strengthen immune system – good for flu season/covid
  • Decreases risk of osteoporosis, stroke, and Alzheimer’s disease 
  • Improves memory and prevents cognitive decline 
  • Reduces risk of diabetes and heart attack, stroke, and high cholesterol
  • Reduces risk of cancers including bladder, breast, colon, esophagus, kidney, lung, and stomach 

Short-Term Benefit of Cardio Exercise 

No matter your age, physical fitness, or experience, everyone can experience the benefits of exercise to maximize hearth health! Even if you haven’t been working out for long, there are several benefits of cardio exercise that kick in almost immediately: 

  • Improves mood and can decrease anxiety
  • Improves sleep (as long as not performed too close to bedtime)
  • Lowers blood sugar

Types of Cardiovascular Training 

High-intensity interval training (HIIT)

 HIIT involves short bursts of activity working almost as hard as you can followed by rest or a lower intensity interval. This type of workout burns a lot of calories in a short time, so it’s great for clients who want a short but effective workout.  

Regular HIIT workouts also can increase metabolism overall.  HIIT causes lactic acid accumulation which accounts for soreness post-workout. Interval training can also be done on cardio machines such as treadmills or ellipticals by varying levels of speed or resistance. 

At Body Dynamics, we offer several group HIIT-style classes, including Cardio Interval Training and BDI Bootcamp.

One thing to consider is your level of physical fitness. While HIIT has great benefits, it is sometimes not the best choice for clients with joint issues or beginners due to the level of intensity required to complete this type of exercise. 

Steady-State Cardio 

During steady-state cardio, your goal is to maintain a consistent heart rate (45 – 65% maximum heart rate) throughout the entire workout.  Steady-state cardio can be low or moderate intensity and is a good choice for endurance training.  

Steady-state cardio is often done on traditional cardio machines such as the treadmill, elliptical, bike, or rowing machine. However, it can also include walking or jogging outside, swimming, and kayaking. 

You can also check out our Cardio Dance or Low Impact Cardio classes at Body Dynamics for fun cardio workouts! 

One bonus is that steady-state cardio does not cause the muscular soreness often associated with HIIT training, so it can be done more frequently and may be easier for clients to perform consistently. 

Know More, Be Well with Body Dynamics!