Exercise Weight Loss Exercises Cardio

Cardio exercises are activities that increase the use of the cardiovascular system, which is composed of the arteries, veins, heart and lungs. This system is responsible for distributing blood to other parts of the body, including your organs and cells. By pumping blood throughout the body, the cardiovascular system delivers nutrients and oxygen, while simultaneously removing waste materials. If you’re interested in weight loss, a workout that incorporates cardio exercises may help you meet this goal.

What are Cardio Exercises?

Cardio exercises are physical activities that strengthen the cardiovascular system and make it work harder. A strong cardiovascular system has a number of health benefits, including weight loss. According to the Mayo Clinic (2007), regular cardio exercise can improve your mood, prevent and manage disease and increase energy levels. In addition, better cardio health is associated with better sleep, improved heart health and lower levels of “bad” cholesterol.

How Long Should You do Cardio Exercises?

Cardio workouts may incorporate activities like walking, running, swimming or playing sports. The American Heart Association (AHA) and the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) recommend 30 minutes of moderately intense cardio exercise, five days per week, or 20 minutes of intense cardio workouts, three days per week (American College of Sports Medicine, 2007).

These recommendations are based on what a healthy adult needs in order to maintain current health levels. If your goal is weight loss, however, each workout should last for 60 to 90 minutes, according to recommendations by the AHA and ACSM.

Losing Weight with Cardio Workouts

A weight loss workout with sufficient cardio exercises burns a significant amount of calories. To complement your weight loss efforts from cardio exercise, reduce the number of calories you consume; in order to lose weight, you need to burn more calories than you ingest.

When you start cardio exercises, a healthy diet is an excellent way to meet your weight loss goals. A derivative benefit of cardio exercise is an increased metabolism rate, which helps your body burn more calories during periods of rest. Combined with a healthy diet, cardio workouts can help you burn calories while you’re exercising, as well as when you’re resting up for your next run.

Choosing the Right Cardio Exercises

Just like any other form of weight loss workout, design a cardio workout with your doctor, as your routine will depend largely on the current state of your health. For example, bone and joint conditions may prevent you from engaging in high impact activities like contact sports or running.

Your current athletic ability may also impede you from undergoing challenging cardio workouts. Depending on your limitations and athletic ability, you may want to start slowly and build up as your health improves.


American College of Sports Medicine. (2007). Guidelines for healthy adults under age 65. Retrieved September 16, 2010, from http://www.acsm.org/AM/Template.cfm?Section=Home_Page