Five reasons it’s crucial to get regular cardio exercise

There are countless health benefits to performing aerobic exercises, but here are five of the biggest ones:
1 It strengthens your heart
2 It strengthens lungs and increases lung capacity
3 It elevates the metabolism, burns calories, and helps you lose weight
4 It helps reduce stress
5 It increases energy
How high should your heart rate be to get a good cardio workout — and how long should you keep it there?
First of all, if you don’t have a heart monitor or a clock to monitor your workout, remember this rule of thumb: When doing cardio exercises within a healthy level you should be able to talk during it. If you are too winded to talk, you most likely need to slow down a bit.
To calculate more exact figures, first figure out your maximum heart rate (beats per minute). To get this key number, subtract your age from 220 for men and 226 for women.
With this number in mind, doctors and trainers say you should exercise at 50-75 percent of that maximum number for BPM. The better your fitness level, the closer to 75 percent you can push it. For a sample calculation of a 40-year-old man, 220-40 (his age) comes out to a maximum heart rate of 180 beats per minute.
To be within the 50 percent range, 180 x .50 comes out to a rate of 90 BPM. A heart rate monitor can help you figure this out, or you can have someone take your pulse.
Now, for the million dollar question … how long should you keep your heart rate up when doing a cardio workout?
Make sure to consult a doctor before beginning any new workout program.
Now that you may have a better idea of the basics of getting a cardio workout, go out there and get moving. Your body will thank you in the long run.

At Home Fitness consultant Aaron Dorksen’s blog deals with a variety of fitness topics, ranging from workout tips, motivational ideas and feature stories on how exercise impacts people’s lives. E-mail him with comments, questions or ideas for future blogs at