Cardio. Many of you are probably doing it right now for one reason or another.  Maybe you're doing in as part of a weight loss plan or contest preparation.  Some of you might even be doing cardio just for fun!  But what actually is cardio and is calorie burning while doing exercise enough to make that activity cardio? 00-sprinting2


Is walking around the mall considered cardio? sure its calorie burning.  So is walking to and from the car calorie burning but it isn't considered cardio.  Some of you might be doing up to 2 hours continuous walking but is that considered cardio?

Yes walking is calorie burning but in the strictest sense of the word cardiovascular workout or cardio workout is a workout programme that strengthens the cardiovascular system and aids in fat loss – and this happens only if certain conditions are met – and calorie burn is not one of those conditions.

What is a Cardio Workout Then?
An elevated heart rate sustained for a minimum of 10 minutes at a stretch is counted as a cardio workout. No mention of calories burned. Jogging, swimming, cycling/Spin, running/Sprints, stair walking or running and skipping are all cardio workouts. The key measure is intensity. An increased heart rate will cause calorie burn and fat loss. And a real cardiovascular workout is the only way to strengthen your cardiovascular system.

How Do You Measure a Cardio Workout?
The rule of thumb is if you're able to talk, but not sing the words of your favourite song then its considerate moderate activity.  While during vigorous-intensity aerobic forget singing, your heart rate is so high and breathing so fast that you won’t be able to get more than a few words out at a time.

The Only Measure is Your Heart Rate:
Fat loss through cardiovascular activity comes from an elevated heart rate. This comes from different speeds based on your fitness levels. A 6kmph speed might be challenging for a beginners but would be very easy for a fit person – who would have to push him or herself self much harder for the same benefits.

Therefore, forget about the calories. As mentioned, you burn calories from doing incidental walking like to the car and back but that does not make it a cardio workout. The only aspect of a cardio workout that you should consider is the elevated heart rate. By increasing and sustaining a higher than normal heart rate for at least 30minutes, you will strengthen your cardiovascular system and along with strength training and a healthy diet, definitely lose fat in a healthy way.

Lisa, Go Figure
March 2012

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