The heart is responsible for circulating blood throughout one’s body, and keeping it healthy should be a top priority for anyone who wants to enjoy a fulfilling life. The good news is that you can have a healthy heart no matter your age as long as you put in the effort.
You do this via cardiovascular conditioning (or cardio for short). It typically involves getting and keeping your heart rate up over a period of time via doing various forms of exercise.
Cardio exercises condition the heart to work more proficiently and can forestall cardiovascular failures and other heart-related illnesses. It pumps more oxygen to the blood, reinforces the heart and lungs, improves energy levels, and decreases cholesterol level. Cardio is also an essential component of effective weight loss when paired with a sensible diet.
Cardiovascular training is, unfortunately, also something that people nowadays neglect despite its numerous benefits. This is because many wrongly believe that improving their cardiovascular health is difficult, time-consuming, or useless. It is also not as visible as muscles, which is why magazine covers and advertisements prefer showing off people with chiseled physiques.
Cardio is also quite possibly the most disliked part of any exercise program as its effectiveness isn’t only hard to gauge but doesn’t get reflected in the mirror either. It is therefore not uncommon to see strong and muscular people fumble when attempting feats that test their cardiovascular endurance. Those who have never trained for cardio will likely fare no better.
This line of thinking, however, is like saying that oxygen is not important simply because it’s invisible to the naked eye.
Having poor cardiovascular health is akin to driving a vehicle that has not been serviced for years. It can still run, but its insides will be covered with dirt, spews black smoke, and is less efficient in all aspects.
A bonus for men: good cardiovascular health can also help with preventing erectile dysfunction.
Types of Low Impact Exercises
You have a few options in choosing which cardio exercise(s) to perform, depending on your objectives. Your current fitness level, timing, and clinical history are some other factors that might skew your preference and exercise suitability.
Beginners should always start with the easiest option before switching to something more advanced. Aim for at least 30 minutes per session three times a week, more if you have the time to spare.
Yoga is a great exercise for people of all ages. This low-impact exercise is frequently associated with improving one’s flexibility and calmness but can also be used for cardiovascular conditioning.
Not all types of yoga are good for improving your cardio, even though you will still sweat a lot no matter which type you practice.
Here are a few yoga flows that will get your heart rate up.
Swimming is a standout amongst other all-around cardio exercises and should be a skill that everyone possesses.
Going for a few laps around the pool is a great way to learn how to control your breath while improving your lungs’ capacity. Swimming also has less impact on your joints, making it a great cardio option for people who suffer from joint issues.
You can also choose to swim at the beach when conditions permit, although you will have to take extra care here.
No rundown of cardiovascular exercises is complete without walking.
You don’t need any gadgets or go to a particular place when it comes to walking. Just put on a pair of shoes, go outdoors, and start walking.
Give speed walking a try if you want to up the challenge.
Cycling is an excellent exercise for improving your heart’s perseverance and forestalling cardiovascular sickness. It can help lower your heart rate and reduce anxiety while primarily working your hip and leg muscles.
We recommend outdoor cycling over indoor cycling because you will feel more in-tune with nature. The chance to enjoy the outdoor scenery is another advantage.
5. Lifting Weights
You may be wonderinging: how is lifting weights a low-impact exercise?
The answer: you do not have to lift heavy weights when aiming to train cardio.
Follow a circuit training plan that involves free weights and/or exercise machines while taking minimal rest between sets will keep your heart rate high without the need to push heavy weights.
You’ll also receive the added benefit of toning your muscles in the process.
You might find cardio to be challenging when you’re just starting out. Try your best not to quit, however, because it will become easier with frequent practice.
The benefits of having good cardiovascular health extend well beyond the immediate and into your later years in life. Just imagine what it’d feel like to be able to keep up with your grandchildren and perhaps even your great-grandchildren.
All you need is to put in the work so that you can reap the lifelong benefits that come with it.