Ryan Meisel, Edenwald Wellness Manager, discusses Cardio Exercise
Let’s start off with a question I have gotten many times while working in the wellness field: Which is better for you: cardio exercise or resistance exercise? In my wellness emails the next few weeks I plan to discuss the differences of both and provide rationale to this question. This week’s topic: Cardio Exercise.
What is it?
Also known as aerobic exercise, cardio is low to high intensity exercise that depends primarily on the aerobic-energy generating process. When you think of “aerobic” think of relating to or requiring oxygen. Oxygen must be taken in to adequately meet the energy demands of the exercise we are performing. To keep it simple, cardio or aerobic exercise is any type of exercise that increases your heart and breathing rate. According to the CDC, older adults need 150 minutes of moderate intensity aerobic exercise per week. Examples of cardio exercises include walking, biking, nustepping, swimming, HITT, resistance exercise (yes, depending on the type and structure of your program), and much more. Even vacuuming and walking the dog can count as cardio exercise.
Why is it good for us?
- Burns calories and increases metabolism
- Strengthens your heart heart and lungs. Your heart is a muscle, it needs to be strengthened just as much as your other muscles do.
- Increased brain function
- Improves sleep
- Improves mood
- Assists in maintaining healthy weight
- Reduces your risk of heart disease, some cancers, and diabetes
- Strengthens bones and muscles
- Improve ability to do daily tasks and prevents falls
- Live a longer & healthy life!
*Disadvantages: Some forms of cardio exercises can put strain on the joints over time (higher impact activities such as running), poor form or technique which leads to injury, and over training. Note that all of these disadvantages can be altered or corrected to achieve the benefits of cardio exercise listed above.
A Research Perspective
- “Health benefits of aerobic training programs in adults aged 70 and over”
- “Effects of Interval Aerobic Training Program with Recovery bouts on cardiorespiratory and endurance fitness in seniors”
A Doctor’s Perspective
A Physiology Perspective
Cardio exercise is important to be included into a well-rounded fitness routine. The countless benefits outweigh the disadvantages for most individuals. There are many different ways to achieve this type of exercise and where one type may work for you, it may not be best for someone else. Also, don’t think that the 150 minute requirement per week has to be in half hour to an hour increments. It can be split up any way you like. Even in bouts of 5-10 minutes! Always remember, some form of exercise is better than no exercise at all. When I go about my workout routines, 30+ minutes of cardio exercise bores me to death. I prefer to split up my cardio in bouts of 10 minute high intensity exercise. Choose a routine that works best for you!
Next week we will discuss resistance exercise.