What Exactly Counts as Cardio?

what is cardio

Why you should incorporate cardio into your workout routine..and why it doesn’t need to be intimidating

“Slow and steady wins the race.” It’s a phrase that’s often applied to individuals who are either new to working out, or have returned to it after a long time off. The reason for that? Because it’s true! Try too much too quickly, and not only is it very possible to injure yourself, but you’re more than likely to burn out or become disheartened by your progress or lack thereof.


Many people decide to begin or restart a cardio regime because they’re looking to feel better about the way they look. And there is obviously nothing wrong with that. However, making weight loss and the resultant change in your physique your only goal can make committing to regular cardio exercise even harder, and can make your motivation wane. Restarting your metabolism, losing weight, and toning your body all take time, and you may not see results immediately.


You should also focus on the other, equally important effects of a regular cardio schedule:

  1. Strengthening your heart and lungs
  2. Increasing bone density
  3. Reducing stress
  4. Lowering the risk of heart disease
  5. Improving sleep
  6. Increasing energy


Many people try running as their first cardio endeavor. After all, if you own a pair of sneakers, it seems to be easy and inexpensive, but, for any number of reasons, it may not be for you.


You may be wary of the impact it may have on your joints, or perhaps you have a previous injury you’re concerned would be exacerbated by running, or you may simply find the entire idea intimidating because you haven’t had to run since high school gym class. Regardless, you have many other options when it comes to cardio that may fit you.


Roller Skating

Take it back to the roller rink. Roller skating gets your heart rate up and your body moving. Take some friends and make a whole evening out of roller skating. It’s a great, fun way to get your cardio in.



Whether it’s at a local swimming pool, a fitness center, a lake, or the ocean, swimming provides a great low-impact, full-body cardiovascular workout. You can do laps or just spend time playing water games with friends or family!


Go on a Hike

If you like the great outdoors, consider hiking. There are dozens of hiking trails throughout Lancaster County and other parts of Central Pennsylvania at your disposal that have gorgeous views when you get to the top. There are also different levels of difficulty, depending on what you want out of your hike.


Go Skiing

Looking for a fun way to get your cardio in during the winter months? Instead of spending time in the gym, grab some friends and go skiing. It’s a great way to get your cardio in without even noticing you’re working out. You know, until your legs are super sore the next day.


Hit the Gym

Here’s the obvious option. If you have access to a gym, the elliptical trainer is a great alternative that is easier on the joints, knees, and lower back than running on a treadmill or outside.


Something else to consider is the rowing machine. Using a rowing machine may seem simple, but it’s a great, low impact way to improve your overall health, no matter your fitness level. It gets your heart pumping, your lungs working, and provides a serious aerobic workout.


Regardless of your cardio choice, do keep in mind that “slow and steady wins the race”: Pace yourself, try not to get frustrated, and remember that you have other options when it comes to fitting in the exercise your body need. If you’re looking for a way to spice up your cardio routine, reach out to us today!

What Exactly Counts as Cardio?

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