Cardiovascular exercise, also known as aerobic exercise is important for heart health, building endurance, carbon dioxide removal and lung function. And we’ve got the details and benefits of your next cardio workout covered.

If you’re huffing, puffing and breathing heavily at the gym, don’t be alarmed. All that means is that your heart is flexing, working hard to distribute blood to your entire body. And believe it or not, the energy you’re using is not only strengthening your heart, but magically melting fat cells away also. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention adults should aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise a week or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity exercise per week. That may sound like a lot, but cardio comes in various shapes and zones of intensity. Knowing those zones and your target heart rate will help with achieving your personal health and fitness goals.

To find out your maximum heart rate and appropriate zone calculate:

[220 – Your Age = Maximum heart rate]


220 – 28 = 192 Maximum Heart Rate

Zone One: Warm-up /cool down/ recovery

192 X .65 = 125

192 x .75 = 144

Example: Walking/Jogging

Zone Two: Lactate Threshold

192 x .76 = 146

192 x .85 = 163

Example: Spin class or Walking on Incline

Zone Three: Peak/Interval

192 x .86 = 165

192 x .95 = 182

Example: Sprinting

Some people love cardio, while others avoid it like the plague. The reality is whether you love or hate it, cardiovascular exercise is a key building block to a successful fitness plan and healthy life. The good news is that there are plenty of fun and enjoyable ways to get that heart rate up. Like good old running. It can be on a treadmill at the gym or in your home, or even better take your run outdoors. You’ll enjoy the added benefit of fresh air and getting in touch with nature. Now that it’s summer and the temperatures are rising, getting a nice cool swim in will also give your heart a good flex. Cycling works wonders on your heart too and is great for anyone with injuries as there is less impact on joints. Use cycling as a greener form of transportation and avoid traffic all together. Then there’s dancing. No need to be a professional. All you have to do is shake it. If you’re into weight lifting, try performing repetitions at a faster speed. Kickboxing is a fun way to switch things up and learn some self defense moves. Or, simply take the stairs instead of the elevator.

The list goes on and on, but the idea is simple: just move your body. If you’re just starting out on your your fitness journey, or you are still on the fence about starting, the first step should be to start moving. Find an exercise that gets you building a solid cardio base, one that gets your heart pumping and is enjoyable to you, and continue to work from there. Fat loss does depend on calories burned versus calories consumed, so moving is the first step in the right direction.

Establishing a regular cardio program does not just flex your heart or melt your fat, It also assists with recovery. After executing your weight training in the gym, hopping on the treadmill or taking a nice walk or light jog will assist your body to help its recovery process by removing some of the by-products, providing more oxygen and replenishing blood to the muscle tissue. A light jog also helps reduce your DOMS (delayed onset of muscle soreness). So what’s calling out at you? Dancing or swimming or running? How about all of the above.