Cardiovascular exercise is the exercise of choice for many people seeking to lose weight, or simply improve overall health. Cardiovascular exercise is essential for a strong heart and healthy vascular system. It is also a great way to burn calories. There are many variations of cardiovascular exercise, as well.
There are many cardiovascular exercise options outside of the gym. Walking, jogging, swimming, and biking are just a few. However, this article is not about the exercises available outside the gym, but those that can be done in the gym. This list varies depending on the equipment available, but can still be considerable.
Cardio Options in Gyms
Some gyms have large elaborate cardiovascular areas with copious amounts of equipment to meet the wants and needs of the most fickle exerciser. Other facilities have a smaller selection. Some of the larger fitness centers might even offer a pool for swimming and water aerobics, and various aerobics classes. Most gyms and fitness facilities have basic equipment for the traditional cardiovascular exercises.
Cardio in the Gym – Jogging and Walking
Walking and jogging are two of the most commonly used cardiovascular exercises. Most gyms offer treadmills as an equipment option. Treadmills afford the fitness enthusiast the opportunity to continue walking or jogging even when weather turns bad. Treadmills can be set to a particular pace and elevation, which allows the exerciser to control the intensity.
Stair Climbing, Bikes, Ellipticals
Stair climbers, stationary bikes, and ellipticals are also common cardiovascular machines. Most gyms have one or more of these as another option for those wishing to get additional cardiovascular work. These allow the fitness enthusiast to change the exercises they use for cardiovascular fitness to keep the routine interesting and avoid staleness.
Rowing machines offer another alternative for aerobic exercise. It brings the upper body into the action to increase overall caloric burn and reduce the impact on the lower body. Swimming is another great low impact exercise, when a pool is available. Some gyms have found the addition of wave pools, or pools that force the swimmer to swim against current, take up much less space and allow for a great cardiovascular workout.
Other, less used, options for cardiovascular workouts in the gym include circuit training, active rest sets, and commuting to the gym in different ways. Circuit training involves having all of the stations or equipment laid out ahead of time so you can move immediately from one exercise to the next for an entire workout. This can be done for one to three full circuits. The continuous movement increases the cardiovascular effort while still working the muscles in anaerobic fashion.
Active rest sets are similar to circuits. Instead of moving from one exercise to the next without rest, however, the exercises are done for three sets with continuous movement between the sets. This might be as simple as jogging in place while resting between sets of the bench press. Some people walk laps around the gym during their rest between sets of an exercise. Jumping jacks, jumping rope, or windmills are other examples of movements that can be used for the active rest.
Riding a bike or walking to the gym, if it is close enough, increase the cardiovascular work before the workout even begins. It also serves as a good warm-up activity before lifting weights. Progressing from walking to jogging will provide an intensity boost once walking becomes too easy. Changing the gears on the bike will increase the intensity of a bike ride.
The gym provides many opportunities for cardiovascular exercise. These exercises can be done by themselves or as part of a total conditioning program. The key to starting any exercise program is to ease into it, pick activities that are right for you, and make it a habit. Once it becomes a habit it will be easy to fit it into your everyday schedule. So, walk, jog, bike, or drive to your local gym and get moving for your heart’s sake.