How much cardio exercise should you do?

Everyone should know that it’s important to exercise, but many people wonder how long they should do it for.
Unfortunately, some people don’t bother to exercise at all because they think something like this: “What’s the use? I don’t have (insert a. time, b. motivation, c. a healthy enough body, d. all of the above) to make a difference.”
That is a sad attitude to take because every little bit of exercise can make a difference. It’s really not that hard to meet the minimum exercise requirements set by the American Heart Association.
The AHA recommends a minimum of 30 minutes of moderate aerobic activity five days per week, or at least 20 minutes of vigorous activity three days per week.
That literally could boil down to five brisk walks around the neighorhood or on the treadmill a week. Of course, working briskly around the house or doing other activities can be considered moderate aerobic activity as well.
But if you can’t meet the five moderate walks a week, then try a lesser number and you can gradually increase the amount of time you exercise.
If you are out of shape, overweight or have other health issues, it may be difficult to reach these minimum levels. Any cardio exercise is beneficial and you should improve over time.
Most people probably know “cardio” is when you get your heart rate elevated for a certain period of time through exercising.
Cardio, which is short for cardiovascular, is also known as aerobic exercise. But when quizzed on the subject, many people don’t know exactly how long, or how hard they should push themselves to get a good cardio workout.
One of the most basic, effective ways to exercise is to do what’s called a cardio workout. The most basic cardio workouts are brisk walking or jogging. For people who are in excellent shape, they need to elevate their exercise level more to push themselves sufficiently.
Machines such as treadmills and ellipticals are great to get cardio workouts on. Countless other activities can push you to get aerobic workouts, such as swimming, hiking or playing tennis.
Activities that that emphasize strength and stretching, such as Pilates and Yoga, are not generally considered cardio exercise, but that’s not to say you can’t get aerobic benefit from them.

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. Consult a doctor before making any significant changes in your exercise routine or diet. E-mail him with comments, questions or ideas for future blogs at