The late, great Olivia Newton-John made a fortune telling us to “get physical,” but is it really that important to leave the couch and be more active? The truth is that working out brings a whole host of perks, especially if you commit to exercise that’s good for your heart and mind.
Check out these big-time benefits of cardio training as well as some important info about trendy HIIT training.
Cardio Training: Classic and Effective
Cardio training is any kind of aerobic activity that raises your heart and breathing rates. Examples include walking, running, bike riding, climbing stairs, water aerobics, hiking, and body-weight exercises like burpees and bear crawls.
Cardio workouts are an integral part of keeping fit and healthy because they help with everything from burning fat and improving muscle tone to increasing immunity and strengthening your heart. Cardio usually involves moving big muscle groups. This provides a comprehensive workout, potentially increasing stamina, lowering blood pressure, controlling blood pressure and blood sugar, and even reducing pain for people with chronic conditions.
Why HIIT Training is Such a Hit
High-intensity interval training (HIIT) is an increasingly popular form of cardio training. HIIT workouts focus on efficiency, offering a complete workout in 30 minutes — sometimes much less. By combining both aerobic components and strength training in alternating rounds, HIIT produces impressive results without requiring long trips to the gym.
Another benefit of HIIT is that it relies mostly on body weight, though some programs incorporate exercise equipment set up in stations for people to rotate through. Regardless of the format, HIIT encourages participants to workout hard, reaching 80-90% heart rate to build strength and endurance while decreasing body fat.