What You Should Know About Cardio Exercises

model sitting on bench

Cardio exercises at a gym involve walking or running on a treadmill at a particular speed, exercising on a bike at varied resistance or exercising on an inclined walker. It is an aerobic type of exercise, which moves large muscle groups and causes you to breathe deeply, makes your heart work harder to pump blood. These can get your heart rate up thus improving the health of your heart and lungs.

You can set your manual timer before you begin. Measuring your heart rate (beats per minute) can tell you how hard your heart is working. You can check your heart rate by counting your pulse for 15 seconds and multiplying the beats by 4. If you are a beginner try to achieve for a target heart rate of 60 per cent. As your fitness improves, you can exercise harder to get your heart rate closer to 85 per cent.

Minimum of 15 minutes of cardio exercises is good for a beginner with 1-2 minutes of cooling time when you can work out at a reduced speed. The timing can be increased slowly. Remember, all exercises end with stretching of muscles.

Strength Training

Weight-training, or strength training, builds strength and muscles. Calisthenics like push-ups are weight-training exercises too. Lifting weights is a weight-training exercise. If you have high blood pressure or other health problems, talk to your family doctor before beginning weight-training.

Weight-training is for people between the ages of 30-45 years. Dumbbells and weight bars help target specific muscle groups. If you are a beginner, you need to slowly build up your weight-training regimen. For example, if you are working on the biceps, you may be asked to lift 5 kg initially for a week and then the weights may be gradually increased according to your pace and effort.

weight lifting dumbells

Treadmill Truths

Treadmill Vs. Working out in the outdoors.

Feature Treadmill    Outdoor walks


Calories Burnt Less ( Low air resistance) More (Higher air resistance)




Possible (if there is an incline option) Possible—it stimulates different
Downhill Not possible


Pulse rate Can be monitored. Workout can be done on target heart rate basis Can be monitored now with latest wearable devices like Fitbit, Apple Watch.
Timing You can walk at any time Depends upon weather
Injury You need to get used to the treadmill. You may trip if you come across obstructions.


Note: Motorised treadmill is the most popular fitness device at gyms and at home. It helps to burn calories faster. If you are planning to buy a treadmill for your home, according to experts, the motor should be heavy and large, preferably 1.5 to 2.5 horsepower with an AC motor for an Indian set up.

The recent fad for achieving a ‘six pack’ abdomen muscles requires rigorous workouts for a long period of time. Consistency helps build up stamina gradually over a period of time.

For any exercise, it is important to slow down at the end so that the heart rate and breathing gradually returns to normal. Keep moving until you stop sweating and your skin cools. Your workout can end again with stretching for 1-2 minutes. Drink water and you may eat a light carbohydrate snack in about 30 minutes. Cooling down following a workout prevents dizziness and helps remove lactic acid and other waste products from the muscles.

Things to be Kept in Mind

  • Working out on an empty stomach can drain you of your energy thus decreasing the quality of your workout. Experts recommend eating easily digestible food such as a piece of fruit or a low-fat fruit drink in order to sustain energy for a work-out.
  • As long as you exercise it is not that you can eat anything you want. You may reward yourself with treats once in a while. Fat in your favourite junk food may not show on the surface but get deposited around the body organs, as visceral fat. Such fat accumulation may prove harmful to your overall health.
  • It is true that exercise performed at low intensity burns more calories from fat than from carbohydrates while calories from carbohydrates get burned with high-intensity activity. But a higher-intensity workout increases the basal metabolic rate (BMR) and more calories are burned from fat after exercise.
  • Women who lift weights do not become manly. In fact strength training is good for women as it builds up muscle and bone mass thus making them less susceptible to osteoporosis. Weight training is a fat burner thus it burns more calories as well.
  • You can dream of a toned tummy only when you burn your calories. This depends more upon your diet than on the number of crunches you do. When the body burns fat, it takes away little bit from every part.
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