Cardiovascular exercise involves keeping the heart rate elevated for a certain period of time, and it is generally done through such as activities as jogging, stair climbing and swimming. Less well known is the fact that a good cardio workout can be done through weight lifting as well.
What Are the Benefits of Cardio?
Cardio works all the major muscle groups at a sustained level of intensity for a period of at least 20 minutes. Aerobic exercise is involved in cardio, which keeps the heart rate working at about 55% to 75% of the maximum heart rate. Besides keeping the heart and lungs strong, aerobic cardio workouts burn fat faster than any other type of exercise.
Benefits of cardio exercise include:
- Burns lots of calories
- Raises metabolic rate
- Burns fat
- Decreases risk of cardiovascular disease by working the heart
There are many common types of cardio exercises that are done to burn fat. These include:
- Fast walking
- Stair climbing
These are considered cardio exercises because they are generally done at low intensity, and for long periods of time. Although these types of exercises provide an excellent aerobic workout, weight lifting can also provide the same cardiovascular benefits.
Using Weight Lifting to Get a Cardio Workout
Weight lifting does not have to be limited to building muscle mass or strength. To build muscle mass, most people lift heavy weights, and limit their repetitions to about eight to 10 per set. To get a cardiovascular workout, the key is to lift light weights for many quick-paced repetitions. This will increase the heart rate and allow you to sustain constant movement for a longer period of time.
Sample Cardio Workout Using Weights
In addition to doing quick, high repetitions using light weights, it is important to minimize rest between sets in order to prevent the heart rate from slowing down. To do this without burning out the muscle, switch from one muscle group to the next in a smooth fashion. For example, perform 20 reps of bicep curls, followed by equal amounts of squats, and so on. A sample routine will look like this:
- Bicep curls
- Military/shoulder press
- Leg/hamstring press
- Tricep extensions
- Calf raises/press
Perform 20 reps of each exercise, then jump right into the next exercise, and continue until all the muscles on the list have been completed. Repeat the routine again, starting with bicep curls, and continue with each subsequent exercise. Continue the cycle until at least 20 minutes has elapsed to get the full benefits of an aerobic workout. By transitioning into subsequent exercises without rest, and conducting reps fairly quickly, your heart rate will remain elevated throughout the entire routine, thus providing a cardiovascular workout using weight lifting.