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 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.
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.
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.
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.