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Cardio training. Does it really matter?

Never before has there been such an "alienation" of cardiovascular training. Cardio training is commonly looked upon as a "product" or optional activity..... that should only be done if it is absolutely necessary. Many try to avoid it. Why though?

This usually comes down to the way fitness is marketed or random information picked up from places that have not been fully interpreted by the reader..... or even mis-written by the author. Does cardio really matter or can I not just exercise in other ways?

There lies the problem. Cardio is often being looked upon as an optional activity product as oppose to understanding the actual benefits of cardio training. 👈

Some of this mis-information sadly stems from the world of lifting weights (in the context of building muscle) where there is a fear of losing muscle mass..... due to the expenditure of calories with cardio training. We then have to question if that is healthy? Imbalanced training programs are common..... and most people are no where near any risk of "losing muscle mass" through cardio. They just don't do enough.

Even in the world of lifting weights, some element of cardiovascular training is important. Warming up properly as well as benefiting better oxygen utilisation. The options for the cardio element of exercise are often limited in training facilities such as a treadmills, cross trainers or rowing machines.


The bottom line is, the body works in a certain way. When I sometimes get asked..... "is this exercise doing cardio?"

It surprises many that we are doing "cardio" at rest. Breathing is the cardiovascular system at work irrespective of activity. Cardio training in general aims to improve cardiovascular health. It is also a component of fitness training.

Getting the heart and lungs working over a sustained period of time brings positives.

Improving lung function. Getting less out of breath. Consciousness of learning how to breathe through exertion. Increasing stamina. Able to go for longer because oxygen efficiency has improved. The aim being to IMPROVE ACTIVITIES OF DAILY LIVING and that is an absolute basic, without even mentioning any fitness goal that may be in mind.

The cardiovascular fitness is often referred to as stamina, endurance, CARDIORESPIRATORY fitness or aerobic fitness. Cardiovascular exercise can be defined as any activity that is rhythmic in nature, continuous and using large muscle groups over a period of time. Walking, swimming, cycling and jogging are examples.


The longer term benefits of cardiovascular training are huge and can prevent serious health problems such as.....

Heart disease.


High blood pressure.

Type two diabetes.


The lungs become more efficient at utilising oxygen meaning more air can be sucked in and made available to be exchanged into the blood for carbon dioxide removal. More efficient breathing has a leniency towards a reduction of blood pressure.

The heart responds to regular cardiovascular training. The left ventricle of the heart gets stronger and increases in volume. Each time the heart beats, a greater volume of blood is pumped to the body.

Arteries and veins become better at delivering oxygen and removing waste products.

The skeleton also benefits as the pulling effects of muscles on bone stimulates bone strengthening (laying down new bone) and helping preventing bone thinning. Ligaments and tendons get stronger providing joint stability.


There are many ways to incorporate cardiovascular training into regular activity. Here are some.....

At an absolute basic, walking is beneficial. Sometimes this is the first step to activity from a sedentary lifestyle. Planning to walk set distances frequently is a good place to start.

Jogging and running are excellent to increase cardio fitness levels as the whole system is under increased pressure and becomes more efficient. The lungs learn become more efficient in using oxygen and the body can work over sustained periods of time better. A three mile jog for example.

Skipping rope. A great way to not only increase cardio health but body coordination. Skipping is variable in pace and a very individual thing. Ropes come in all types of materials from nylon, wire and actual rope to various weights. Speed ropes are light weight and fast by nature..... whereas some ropes come with adjustable weighted handles, or the whole rope itself is constructed from a heavier material.

If you use a "gym" or training facility, then that cardio element could be on a cross trainer for twenty minutes.

Racquet sports such as tennis, badminton and squash are excellent and can be very intense for getting those cardio health improvements. Team sports that involve a lot of running are also excellent to providing benefits to cardio health.

Boxing padwork is a high intensity form of training that adapts very well to the fitness context. It incorporates the full body, increases stamina as well as coordination. A few rounds with simple combinations raises the heart rate over a sustained period of time..... increasing cardio respiratory health.


Cardio training should not be looked on as an optional extra. It is a component of fitness training bringing direct improvements to health and preventative measures to worsening health. It does not take much time out of a week to get involved with some form of cardio activity. Lifestyle integration is key as always to create healthy habits.

So. Cardio training..... DOES IT REALLY MATTER?

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