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Cardio exercise is defined as any exercise that raises your heart rate. Most of us mean aerobic exercise when we think of cardio—activities that require the heart to work harder, pumping oxygenated blood to working muscles. Our heart and breathing rates increase to levels that can be sustained for the duration of our workout. Running, swimming, dancing, or hiking are considered aerobic exercises.
Anaerobic exercise, on the other hand, still increases our heart rate, but can only be sustained for short periods of time (for example, when lifting heavy weights or sprinting).
Both forms of cardio training are extremely important to your well-being. They work together to strengthen your heart and cardiovascular system, making your heart more efficient at pumping blood throughout your body. With regular cardio training, you’ll also lower your blood pressure and stress levels, increase endurance, and prevent conditions like heart disease and some cancers.
In this workout we’re focusing on vigorous-intensity cardio exercise, performed in a structured manner. You’ll be alternating between short periods of hard effort and rest/recovery (a.k.a. high-intensity interval training, or HIIT). You’ll get a fantastic workout in a short period of time—and without any equipment!
While these moves crank up your heart rate, they’ll also strengthen the muscles in your legs, core, and upper body.