How do I get started with cardio exercise?

Start slowly and on the low end of the intensity scale and give yourself time to adjust and improve your fitness. If you’re completely new to cardiorespiratory training begin with something light like a brisk walk for 20 minutes, this will allow your body to adjust to aerobic training while minimizing the risk of soreness and overuse injuries.  Start with 2-3 sessions a week and keep your intensity high enough to make you sweat and get your heart rate up, but light enough you can still carry on a light conversation. Each week you can increase speed or duration, but do not increase it by more than 5-10% each week. As your fitness level increases gradually increase the number of sessions per week and the intensity or length of the sessions until you are performing 3-5 sessions of 60 minutes a week at a moderate to high intensity. A high intensity cardiorespiratory workout would be one in which you are working hard enough that you can only answer short yes or no type questions. Give your body plenty of time to improve and adapt, and eventually you will have a high level of fitness. 
If you are just getting started with cardio exercise it is important to begin slowly. Cardio exercise includes any type of activity that increases your heart rate and breathing rate. Activities such as walking your dog, cleaning the house, playing with your children, dancing to you favorite song, cycling, gardening, walking up stairs, or heading to the local gym to participate in an exercise class can all be used as forms of cardio exercise.

Begin slowly and progress gradually. Start out with 5-10 minutes each day. You could even do 2-3 sessions of 5-10 minutes of cardio exercise each day and slowly build up to performing 30-60 minutes, 5-7 days of the week.

Choose cardio activities that you enjoy doing. This is very important because if you enjoy what you are doing - you are going to keep doing it. If you don't like the activities you choose, then you will find excuses not to do them. Exercising with a friend or family member can also help increase enjoyment and committment levels.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.