In this video we discuss what is cardio exercise and some of the different types of cardio exercises. We also cover what is the best type of cardio.
What is cardio?
Cardio or cardiovascular exercise which is also called aerobic exercise is any type of exercise that raises your heartbeat. So, walking is a form of cardio, running, cycling, swimming and even resistance training are all cardio exercise.
There are many different ways to categorize the types of cardio, and in this video we are going to look at it based on heart rate and exertion. There is a general formula that is used to calculate maximum heart rate, 220 – age.
So, for a 35 year old person that would be 220 – 35, which equals 185 heart beats per minute. That would be at full physical exertion, like sprinting all out. There is some margin for error of estimating heart rate max, so this number will give you a general idea. The chart on the screen lists different training zones based on heart rate. For our 35 year old person, zone 1, 50 to 60% of heart rate max would be 92 to 111 beats per minute and zone 5 would be over 166 beats per minute.
The other way to gauge cardio is called the rate of perceived exertion. The chart on the screen shows the Borg RPE scale of 6 through 20, with 6 being nothing at all and 20 being maximal heavy exertion.
So, here I am doing some full court layup sprints, my heart rate monitor shows my heart is at 163 beats and my rate of perceived exertion is at a 18, as you can see, I am extremely winded. Either of these methods can be useful to monitor the intensity of cardio exercise.
Zone 5 or 20 on the rpe scale should be performed by very fit and experienced athletes. And fitness beginners should start at the lower ends, zone 1 and 2 on the heartbeat scale, and 7, 8 or 9 on the rpe scale and over time, maybe start out with walking, and as your fitness level increases you can increase the intensity of the exercise.
As I mentioned earlier, there are many different ways to perform cardio. You can do steady state training, such as walking or jogging at constant pace for a specific distance or duration.
You can do interval training, where you maybe walk for 3 minutes and jog for 30 seconds, repeating this cycle for a specific time period. You can do circuit training, combining some strength exercises with cardio based exercises. For instance, 4 exercises, side to side hops, side dumbbell raises, lunges, and push ups. You can take short rests between the exercises or do the complete circuit and take a rest and then do the circuit again. This is a great way to combine strength and cardio training together.
And more advanced fitness people can do hiit or high intensity interval training. An example of this would be to maybe sprint for 20 seconds and then walk for 20 seconds and repeat this cycle for say 8 bouts. This would be a 1 to 1 ratio and the ratio can be changed as many athletes do a 2 to 1 ratio, sprinting for 30 seconds then walking for 15 seconds. There is no set in stone way of doing hiit, so you can do it to whatever suits your level of fitness.
Even regular everyday activities that require movement are a form of cardio. Cutting the grass, cleaning the house, even going shopping where you are on your feet and constantly moving can be a form of very light cardio.
Which cardio is best?
Well, beginners should start out slow, with less strenuous activities, such as walking or slow jogging and build up over time. Doing all of the forms of cardio I mentioned earlier can have benefits, and I believe it is a good plan to hit your body as differently as you can and as your fitness level increases try each of the different methods and find what you like to do, or what you don’t hate to do.
0:10 What is cardiovascular exercise?
0:31 Calculating your maximum heart rate
0:54 Heart rate zones explained
1:08 What is the RPE – rate of perceived exertion?
2:04 Different ways to perform cardio
2:44 HIIT training – high intensity interval training
3:11 Everyday movements are cardio
3:23 Which cardio is best?