Skip to content

Fitness & Exercise

Select An Article

This article is from the WebMD Feature Archive

Font Size

Kick It Up With Cardio Exercise

Before you jump on that Stairmaster or start pounding the pavement, make sure you have a cardio exercise plan that will give you the most bang for your muscle burn.
By
WebMD Feature

Whether it's pounding the pavement, logging miles on the bike, or climbing those stairs that seem to go nowhere, it's all about cardio exercise. But other than a sweaty t-shirt, what do you have to show for your workout? A slimmer stomach? Killer quads? Are you exercising for the right amount of time to reap the full health benefits of cardiovascular fitness, or often enough?

Exercise experts, including fitness maven Denise Austin, answer cardio questions for WebMD, so you can make the most of your muscle burn.

Recommended Related to Men

Don’t Be a Home Improvement Disaster

You walk into Home Depot or Lowe's to pick up a lightbulb. Instead, you leave with some new flooring, a circular saw, a framing square, and big ideas about re-tiling your kitchen. The problem? You've never done anything more than change a lightbulb by yourself. Growing numbers of Americans are tackling do-it-yourself home improvement projects that once might have been left to professionals. One reason for the shift: Stores like Home Depot, along with TV shows on networks like HGTV or the DIY...

Read the Don’t Be a Home Improvement Disaster article > >

Cardio Exercise: The Heart of the Matter

"Cardiovascular exercise is any type of exercise that increases the work of the heart and lungs," says Tommy Boone, PhD, a founding member of the American Society of Exercise Physiologists. "Walking, jogging, and running are common forms of cardiovascular, or aerobic, exercise."

From running and walking, to swimming, elliptical cross-training, biking, Stairmaster, and rowing -- to name a few -- the physical benefits of cardio exercise abound, explains says Len Kravitz, PhD, senior exercise physiologist for IDEA Health and Fitness Association. They include:

Reduced risk of heart disease

  • Improved blood cholesterol and triglyceride levels
  • Improved heart function
  • Reduced risk of osteoporosis
  • Improved muscle mass

"The American College of Sports Medicine and the CDC recommend, for health, that adults should accumulate 30 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity on most days of the week," says Kravitz, who is also a coordinator of exercise science at the University of New Mexico. "And to improve cardiovascular endurance, they recommend 20 to 60 minutes on three to five days per week."

Now that you know the benefits of cardio exercise, where should your heart-pumping fitness plan begin?

Getting Into the Zone

To help you make the most of your cardio exercise workout -- help your heart, increase muscle, and lose fat -- Denise Austin, fitness expert, author of seven books, including Shrink Your Female Fat Zones, and star of 50 fitness videos, gives WebMD some tips.

"To reap all the benefits of a cardio workout, you should sustain your workout for 20 minutes or more -- I do 30 minutes myself -- on a schedule of about three to four times per week," says Austin.

Next Article:

Healthy Living Tools

Ditch Those Inches

Set goals, tally calorie intake, track workouts and more, all via WebMD’s free Food & Fitness Planner.

Get Started

Today on WebMD

pilates instructor
15 moves that get results.
woman stretching before exercise
How and when to do it.
 
couple working out
Moves you can do at home.
woman exercising
Strengthen your core with these moves.
 
man exercising
Article
7 most effective exercises
Interactive
 
Man looking at watch before workout
Slideshow
Overweight man sitting on park bench
Video
 

Pollen counts, treatment tips, and more.

It's nothing to sneeze at.

Loading ...

Sending your email...

This feature is temporarily unavailable. Please try again later.

Thanks!

Now check your email account on your mobile phone to download your new app.

pilates instructor
Slideshow
jogger running among flowering plants
Video
 
woman walking
Article
Taylor Lautner
Article