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Cardio 101

What Is Cardio All About?

The term aerobic means "with oxygen." Aerobic exercise and activities are also called cardio, short for "cardiovascular." During aerobic activity, you repeatedly move large muscles in your arms, legs and hips. Your heart rate increases and you breathe faster and more deeply. This maximizes the amount of oxygen in your blood and ultimately helps you use oxygen more efficiently.

If you haven’t gotten enough aerobic exercise, you may use your entire aerobic capacity while walking up a flight of stairs. You'll realize this when you get to the top and feel out of breath.

If you are a beginner to exercise, start with low to moderately intense cardio activities, so you can do them for long periods of time.

Benefits of Cardiovascular Exercise

  • Strengthen your heart and muscles

  • Burn calories

  • Help control your appetite

  • Boost your mood through the release of endorphins, which are feel-good chemicals released by your brain

  • Help you sleep better at night

  • Reduce arthritis pain and stiffness through joint movement

  • Help prevent or manage high blood pressure, heart disease and diabetes

How Much?

Healthy adults should aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity a week, or an equivalent combination of moderate and vigorous activity. No matter what your age, aerobic exercise will help you in your daily activities and increase your stamina and endurance.


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