What is cardiovascular exercise?


Cardiovascular exercise is exercise that is designed to raise your heart rate into a target range. It strengthens your heart and lungs and improves your overall health and fitness when done correctly and consistently. A few examples of good cardiovascular exercise include brisk fitness walking, biking, swimming, running, rowing, aerobic dance, water running, and in-line skating. These types of activities can be done indoors or outdoors, in motion or on stationary equipment.

What is cardio cross training?


Cross training involves varying your workout routine and using a variety of different modes of exercise. It is a great way to work your entire body, alleviate boredom, and avoid excess stress on specific joints or muscle groups. An example of using cross training in your cardiovascular training may include alternating swimming, biking, and running. The point of cross training is to vary your routine. It is usually best not to lock your schedule into a set pattern of one activity on one certain day without any flexibility. Remember that for cardio cross training, the goal is to work in your target heart range for approximately thirty minutes per workout. The activity you do can vary as much as you want it to. Have fun and enjoy the spice that variety brings to your cardiovascular training.

What is the difference in benefits between running and walking for my cardiovascular workouts?


There are many differences between walking and running but we will highlight a few important ones here. An average person will burn about 100 calories per mile whether walking or running. Walking one mile will obviously take more time than running one mile so running will burn more calories per time spent than walking. Although calorie estimates are truly estimates and everyone burns calories differently, running will burn more calories per time spent versus walking. Both will burn approximately the same amount of calories for the same distance traveled.

Other differences include the following: running is harder on the joints and requires a higher degree of fitness than does walking, running will effect the heart rate more than walking which requires less effort from the heart, lungs, and muscles. Both will provide an excellent cardiovascular workout if the heart rate is raised to your own target range. Generally, those who have been sedentary, are overweight, have joint problems or other specific physical limitations, or are at a below average fitness level should begin with a walking program and progress to a running program as their fitness level improves.

Some people prefer one activity over the other. The choice to walk or run is a personal choice, but make sure that the choice you make can raise and keep your heart rate at its target level. One or the other may be either too easy or too hard to do this effectively. You can automatically calculate your target heart rate and learn how to determine your resting heart rate on our site. Go to the Fitness Training section of our site and click on the Target Heart Rate button to calculate your individual target heart rate. Remember to always consult your physician before beginning any exercise program.

What is the best cardiovascular workout one can do?


You cannot look for one "best" when it comes to cardiovascular training. What is good for one person may not be good for another. Not everyone enjoys the same activities or has the same skills. (If you can't swim then obviously swimming is not your cardio activity!) Your own "best" cardio workout may vary from month to month, week to week, and even day to day. This is why cross training is important. You can do different cardio workouts depending on what you feel like doing, where you are, what body parts are tired, etc.

When choosing a cardio activity, pick an activity you enjoy that uses large muscle groups and allows you to get your heart rate into its target range and maintain it for thirty minutes. You should do this minimally three times per week. If you have been sedentary, it may take some time before you can build up to thirty minutes of cardio training. Be consistent and patient and eventually you will be able to comfortably train in your target range for thirty minutes.

What does “aerobic” mean? Do I have to dance around to do aerobic exercise?


The word “aerobic” means “with oxygen.” This kind of energy production occurs when there is enough available oxygen to assist in the production of energy. You will many times hear the term aerobic exercise and cardiovascular exercise used interchangeably. Aerobic or cardiovascular exercise is exercise that uses large muscle groups and maintains your target heart rate for a designated period of time. It is sustained exercise. It is not start/stop or short-duration exercise. Many people hear the word “aerobic” and only think of aerobic dance. Examples of aerobic or cardiovascular exercise include cycling, brisk walking, running, swimming, cross country skiing, rowing, in-line skating, elliptical training, cardio-based classes (Jazzercise, funk-aerobics, step) and stair stepping. Bare minimum recommendation for aerobic exercise: 20 – 30 minutes, three times per week.

Do you recommend working out with a partner?


Absolutely! Working out with a partner not only gives you a motivational buddy but also a person to fill the very important role of a spotter. A spotter is not just your partner in safety, but also someone who helps you past stick points, checks your form, and helps you do negatives. When you work out with a partner it is much easier to stick to your program and stay motivated. Even when one of you is feeling unmotivated usually the other one can be motivated enough for both of you!



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