Cardio activity, also known as aerobic exercise, is defined by the American Council on Sports Medicine as any form of physical activity that gets your heart rate up and keeps it up for an extended period of time (more than three minutes). Examples of cardio activity include walking, swimming, biking, and running. The intensity (how hard) and how long one may participate depends on their current ability. Cardio activities are great for improving overall general health by strengthening the heart and is associated with maintaining weight, improved sleep, and lowering levels of stress. For general fitness, the recommendation is 150 minutes of cardio exercise per week.
Cardio activity is important and has health benefits, but research has shown that chronic long duration endurance training has the highest risk for overuse injury compared to other forms of physical activity.
Did you know that strength training increases bone density, protects against joint damage by increasing muscle and ligament strength, and increases metabolism? It is very important to include other aspects of fitness into your program. One way to ensure your program is balanced is to implement conditioning as a form of training.
Conditioning programs are designed to improve performance over time. Conditioning encompasses strength training within the program and helps to build muscular endurance (force production of muscles). Overall conditioning challenges your strength, endurance, and mobility at higher intensities over a shorter duration. Examples of conditioning include jumping, sled drives, sprint ladders, and tempo runs. To learn more about conditioning programs, please see https://www.usmc-mccs.org/news/cardio-vs-conditioning.
Visit your installation’s fitness center and connect with a Semper Fit team member to learn more on cardio and other fitness programs.