Cardio endurance exercise, more commonly known as aerobic or cardiovascular exercise, is exercise that strengthens the heart and entire cardiovascular system. According to the American Heart Association, cardio endurance exercise should elevate your heart rate to 50 to 85 percentof the maximum rate. Maintaining good cardiovascular health can help stave off obesity, diabetes, heart disease, certain types of cancer and other health conditions.
Walking, Running, hiking and Jogging
Walking, running, hiking and jogging are popular outdoor cardiovascular exercises that require no equipment beyond running shoes and workout clothing and can be done very nearly anywhere. People in poor shape or desiring a low intensity cardiovascular workout can start off with a moderate walk of five or 10 minutes and slowly progress to longer workouts and more intense activities such as jogging or running.
Biking is another popular outdoor cardiovascular exercise. Many cities have bike trails both on and off road, allowing bikers to peddle for sustained periods of time without having to stop, making the biking a more effective cardio exercise. Because biking also serves as a form of transportation, bike commuting can allow busy people to get their aerobic exercise on the way to and from work.
Other Outdoor Exercises
There are a vast array of outdoor activities that will get the blood pumping and keep the heart healthy. For younger exercisers, running games like tag and dodgeball make a great workout, allowing kids to play and stay fit at the same time. Older exercisers may enjoy outdoor sports such as soccer, football or tennis. Swimming, cross-country skiing and rowing are also good ways to stay in shape while enjoying the outdoors.
Modern gyms are equipped with a variety of cardiovascular machines, allowing exercisers to get a variety of cardio workouts in the same place. Stair climbers, treadmills, exercise bikes, skiing machines and rowing machines are designed to provide the benefits of the activities they simulate while allowing you to carefully customize and record your workout. Other exercise machines such as elliptical trainers don't model any particular activity, but are designed simply to provide an effective workout targeting particular muscles and the cardiovascular system.
Many gyms offer or aerobics classes, designed to provide stretching, conditioning and a cardiovascular workout all in one. Dance classes are another good option for cardiovascular health, since many forms of dancing elevate the heart rate. Certain martial arts such as Capoeira also involve continuous movement for sustained periods of time, which makes them effective cardiovascular conditioning.