The best form of cardio exercise is walking. Period. You need to be able to walk throughout your entire life to remain mobile. Walking is low impact which creates less stress on the joints, but it has enough impact to help strengthen your bone density.
What’s the point of cardio?!
Cardiovascular exercise is any activity that keeps your heart rate up for an extended period of time. This means cardio exercise will strengthen your heart and burn extra calories (energy). The stronger your heart is, the more blood your heart will be able to pump out with each heart beat. This makes your heart actually have to work less over time. An unfit heart is weaker and has to beat faster than a fit heart to get the same amount of blood to the working muscles.
How do I start?
Start with one minute. Yes, your heart benefits from just one minute of cardio exercise! Gradually increase your time. Get to a point where you are doing 20-minute walks, 3 times per week. Don’t even think about how hard you are working to start with. Just get into the habit of exercising.
Once you have the habit, start playing with your intensity levels. If you walk at a Sunday “stroll” pace (2 mph on flat ground) for 20 minutes, you will burn about 44 calories. These numbers are based on a 145-pound person. That same 145-pound person would burn approximately 110 calories in 20 minutes at a 4 mph (brisk) pace.
These numbers are approximates. The amount of calories burned depends on your bodyweight, metabolism, intensity, and if you had any elevation gains. Once you are successful three days per week at 20 minutes, either increase your walking duration or add 1-2 more walking days per week. Change up your routes (if you aren’t on a treadmill) to keep things fresh and fun.
You will have more energy and a better quality of life. Go for a walk today!