Cardio Guide For Beginners
What is cardio? The definition of a cardio workout is any workout that raises your heart rate. Cardio exercise can be aerobic, meaning there is a steady flow of oxygen throughout the workout, or anaerobic, meaning there is no flow of oxygen during the workout (i.e., swimming for cardio). Cardio is effective at helping you reach your goals, and, according to the American Heart Association, should be practiced for 150 minutes per week to keep a happy and healthy heart. We wanted to put together a guide for cardio for beginners that you can use as a resource, so check out the info below!
Benefits of Cardio Training
Implementing consistent cardio into your routine offers up a ton of benefits. With a well-structured routine, you can enjoy:
- Stronger cardiovascular health
- Burn more calories and fat
- Improve your lung capacity
- Increase your endurance
- Release endorphins that give you more energy and can put you in a better mood
- Reduce stress (we all need that)
1 | Start Slow
As with any routine, it is essential to start slow. For many of us, the temptation to jump in and get going takes over, and we push ourselves too far too soon. Don’t do that! By pushing yourself too far in the beginning, you are more likely to get injured and quit altogether. Don’t worry about your pace in the beginning. Instead, take this time to focus on form, breathing, and how you feel during your cardiovascular exercise. Try to increase your duration and intensity each week until you reach your goal.
2 | Consistency is Key
You’ll see us giving out this advice a lot—find a great workout that you love to do and do it. The truth is, consistency is key to an effective workout routine. So, if you love your workout, you’ll workout. Try running outside, on the treadmill, taking a cycling class, joining us in Team Training, or trying out a cardio-focused group exercise class. Once you find something you love, keep doing that. Begin to focus on cardio three days a week, 20 minutes at a time, and once that gets easy (and it will) add some minutes onto your routine.
3 | Try New Exercises
Now, if you do the same thing over, and over, and over again, you will burn out. So switch it up! Each time you try a new workout, you will focus on different muscles and get stronger in areas you didn’t even know existed. You will also avoid plateaus by mixing up which muscles you are using and making sure your body doesn’t get too used to a workout. Now, if you are, for example, a passionate runner, don’t let this tip stop you completely. Prioritize your running still, but be sure to add in something fun and new to you. Change up your routine every four to six weeks. Some ways you can switch it up is by running hills (Team Training has incredible hill climbs, hint hint.), do sprints, swim, row, dance, etc. Find something that interests you and give it a try!
4 | Invest in Quality Running Shoes
You may think those designer tennies you found at Nordstrom are perfect for the gym because, well, you look great! And, you do. But, when it comes to cardio, in particular, you need to make sure that your shoes work well for you. They need to be comfortable for the duration of those long workouts and provide support. If you are not sure which shoe to purchase, try finding a store that can help you. Road Runner Sports, for example, has a team that can help you choose the shoe that is perfect for you.
5 | Stretching and Cool Down
Don’t overlook the importance of stretching. Before getting started, you should warm up! You can do this by walking at a brisk pace to get your muscles warmed up, or stepping onto your favorite cardio machine at a more leisurely pace. Once you feel warm, then you can start. At the end of your exercise, it is tempting to hop off of the machine and right onto the HydroMassage—but, you need to cool down. Allowing your muscles to cool down and control your breathing will help you to recover quicker. Once you feel your breathing normalize, stretch, and make sure your muscles get a little love. It is more effective to stretch warm muscles, so we recommend stretching after a workout. Then, head to that HydroMassage and enjoy.
Popular Cardio Equipment:
1 | The Treadmill
The treadmill is the most popular piece of equipment in the gym. It is straightforward (push the quick-start button and go), and versatile. Allowing you to walk, jog, sprint, climb hills, and more!
2 | The Elliptical
This low-impact machine is hard to beat. It mimics the motion of running while allowing you to stretch your hip flexors, has a full-body workout option with its moving handles, and has built-in workouts to make your workout a breeze.
3 | The Stair Climber
Build stamina, lower body strength (hello, glutes!) and enjoy the low-impact nature of a genuinely challenging and diverse low-impact machine with the stair climber.
4 | Indoor Bikes
Indoor cycling in a class is something a ton of gym-goers look forward to each day. These classes are high-energy, challenging, and fun. You can also enjoy the bikes on the floor for your very own low-impact workout.
5 | The Row Machine
The rowing machine is a great low-impact workout that is fantastic for building core strength, upper body strength, and—really—strength all over. Row machines are also super easy to use. Be sure to study proper form and then give this machine a try!
6 | The Swimming Pool
Finally, the swimming pool. Swimming is the only anaerobic workout. A workout that you do not have a consistent flow of oxygen. It is excellent for building lung capacity and has almost no impact. Meaning, if you have any joint pain, the pool is a great place to build and maintain your cardiovascular strength.
Focusing on cardio means you are getting that heart rate up, breathing harder, and torching calories. It can be uncomfortable to start, but it gets easier! Don’t give up and celebrate every victory along the way. We are cheering you on!
You can find cardio equipment at all of our locations. Come on in and put these tips to the test.