Updated: May 9, 2020
For good all round fitness, you need some form of cardio. Many focus just on muscle and appearance, but often cardiovascular training does get overlooked or may only be done as a ten minute warm up in the gym.
When you think about it, muscles need blood, and blood needs oxygen to function. If you maximise lung and circulatory health that can only enhance the blood supply to muscles during exercise. Cardiovascular training in itself should be a workout in its own right. Many do this, many don't, but we do need good lung health.
Cardio workouts are good for you. From a personal training point of view it depends what your goals are.
Efficient lungs ensure good blood circulation and lowers blood pressure because through training you have made your lungs efficient in utilising oxygen. Lungs are slightly different to muscles. Muscles will increase in size (hypertrophy) naturally, call it toning, call it conditioning, but they will look better with working out.
Lungs on the other hand do not increase in size, what happens is the lung cells are able to use oxygen more efficiently from the air we breathe in. So through regular cardio, there is less gasping and more controlled intake and use of air that naturally lowers blood pressure. Your lungs have become more efficient.
Whether it be on a cross trainer in a gym for forty minutes on an interval setting, a treadmill or going for a jog outdoors, this is all designed to get your blood pumping to utilise oxygen creating better cardio health. As simple as that.
An old school way of achieving great cardio is (and often overlooked), a skipping rope. This is a great alternative if you don't fancy going for a run. You can vary footwork as you progress, go fast, go slow, but for sure, a jump rope is great way to vary cardio training.
If you have not trained for a while or new to exercise, a rope can be a great introduction. Try 5 x 2 minute rounds if you are beginning.
It was one of the first things I learnt all those years ago when I was Thai boxing.
You can get the same benefits of cardio training with a skipping rope as you can with going for a run. It all depends on the level of intensity and duration you work at.
Added bonus? A rope is inexpensive, and the one I am using in this short clip I picked up for next to nothing! A skipping rope is one of the pieces of gear I carry as it is so useful for mobile personal training purposes.