What is Cardio Conditioning? (with pictures)

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon
Push ups can be combined with jogging as part of a cardio workout.
Push ups can be combined with jogging as part of a cardio workout.

Cardio conditioning is a form of exercise which is designed to promote cardiovascular health. Cardio, as it is known for short, is a very popular form of exercise and is integrated into many fitness schemes. Numerous gyms and fitness centers offer cardio classes such as step aerobics for people who want a little guidance for their conditioning sessions, and people can also set up their own programs to follow at home.

In cardio conditioning the heart rate is elevated and kept high for a period of time.
In cardio conditioning the heart rate is elevated and kept high for a period of time.

In this form of exercise, the heart rate is elevated and kept high for a period of time which can vary, depending on fitness level and goals. The exerciser starts with a light warmup to get the body ready to work, transitions into moderate to high intensity exercise, and then moves into a cool down period. A session of cardio can take anywhere from 20 minutes to over an hour.

A treadmill is the most popular cardio machine.
A treadmill is the most popular cardio machine.

In cardio conditioning, the heart muscle is made stronger. People usually experience benefits such as a reduced blood pressure, lower resting heart rate, and a stronger heart which can work harder during exercise sessions. Lung function also tends to improve. As a result of this kind of conditioning, people can work harder for longer periods of time, with increased stamina and endurance for exercise. Many people also experience a reduction in stress levels and a mood improvement as a result of cardio workouts.

Running is a high-impact, cardio exercise.
Running is a high-impact, cardio exercise.

This form of exercise is also used by some people for weight control. Cardio conditioning encourages the body to burn stored energy. However, as people become more fit, they tend to hit a plateau, because the process of conditioning makes the body more efficient, and as a result it does not need to burn as much stored energy during workouts. Changing up exercise routines and setting up a diverse exercise schedule can help people avoid the plateau if they are on an exercise program which is designed to promote weight loss.

Most treadmills feature programmed routines for cardiovascular workouts.
Most treadmills feature programmed routines for cardiovascular workouts.

While this kind of conditioning can be beneficial and can make up an important part of an exercise program, it should not be the only form of exercise used. Focusing on cardio can be hard on the joints, as the exercise is often high impact, and it will not help people build muscle strength. It's important to stretch, lift weights, and engage in other forms of exercise which will promote overall health and fitness. A personal trainer can help devise a fitness plan which will meet target goals.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

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Discussion Comments

anon310924

Those who suffer with cardiac disease must take care of their health, even consulting heart specialist doctors for better treatment.

suntan12

@Crispety - I never thought of doing that. I know that when I swim laps as a part of my cardio and fitness routine I can only go for about fifteen minutes before I am out of breath.

I can usually jog for about forty minutes but somehow in the water it is a little harder for me so there must be some truth to what you are saying.

I never thought about jogging in the water. I will have to try that because it sounds like fun and I don’t have to worry about getting hot and sweaty.

Crispety

@Sunny27-I have tried jumping rope and it is a great exercise. I try to use a boxing DVD and in between sets I will incorporate cardio exercises like jumping rope or jumping jacks.

I also heard that you can do cardio exercises in the pool. The nice thing about this is that since you are in the pool you will not risk any injuries like you would if you were working out on pavement because the water offers natural resistance and it also protects you from injuries.

I heard that a professional soccer team did jogging intervals in a pool in order to get conditioned for the season. I will have to try that.

Sunny27

@Bhutan - That does sound like a good cardio workout you can do at home. I wanted to also add that using a jump rope in between intervals when you are lifting weights or if you want to increase the intensity regarding your home cardio exercise is also really effective because when you jump rope you are using all of your muscles so your are getting a total body workout.

It is really intense too. I usually will do four sets of 250 jumps and I am beat. This is also an exercise that you can do in a park or virtually anywhere. I usually do this when I take my kids to the park that way I get my cardio training in while my kids play.

Bhutan

I have to say that I reached a plateau in my cardio work out and it was boring. My routine was becoming a little easy and I was not sweating as much.

I normally jogged for 30 minutes at a six mile per hour pace for the full time frame. I started to get bored and then I read in a magazine that interval training could really improve your fitness level and metabolic rate.

The routine that I saw in the magazine offered a one minute interval of jogging at a pace beginning with five miles per hour leading up to eight miles per hour in consecutive one minute intervals followed by a two minute recovery at a four mile per hour pace at the end of the set.

The magazine said to repeat this nine minute set five times, but I was only able to do it three times. Although I was jogging for three minutes less, I felt a major difference in body and my clothes were fitting looser. It also made my exercise routine more fun.

This was an easy cardio workout that anyone could do as long as you have a treadmill and some great sneakers.

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    • Push ups can be combined with jogging as part of a cardio workout.
      Push ups can be combined with jogging as part of a cardio workout.
    • In cardio conditioning the heart rate is elevated and kept high for a period of time.
      In cardio conditioning the heart rate is elevated and kept high for a period of time.
    • A treadmill is the most popular cardio machine.
      A treadmill is the most popular cardio machine.
    • Running is a high-impact, cardio exercise.
      Running is a high-impact, cardio exercise.
    • Most treadmills feature programmed routines for cardiovascular workouts.
      Most treadmills feature programmed routines for cardiovascular workouts.
    • Step aerobics classes can offer a good way for beginners to work on cardiovascular activity.
      Step aerobics classes can offer a good way for beginners to work on cardiovascular activity.