A cardiovascular workout is primarily intended to sustain an increased heart rate for the duration of the exercise, in order to improve cardiovascular strength. Other benefits include increases to overall fitness and potential for weight loss and muscle gain. Choosing the best cardiovascular workout is an individual decision: factors such as personal fitness level, cardiovascular health, and available time are all important considerations.
There is no definitive answer to which cardiovascular workout is the best. Some, like running, can burn many calories in a short period of time, but can also do damage to joints and be dangerous for those at a low fitness level. Others, like walking, may be easier for new or just-returning exercisers, but take a long time to burn off a reasonable amount of calories. It is important to remember that an adequate amount of any cardiovascular exercise can improve health and fitness, but finding the right level may take some trial and error.
One way to find the best cardiovascular workout is to spend a week or two doing a different workout every day. Go for a jog on day one, take a dance class day two, then swim some laps in a community swimming pool on day three. Some people love variety in their workouts and will want to stick to an endlessly changing schedule to ward off boredom and over-training, but others will quickly winnow out the unbearable workouts and start focusing on enjoyable routines.
It's important to remember that the best cardiovascular workout is generally a moderate one. While the goal of performing a sustained exercise to increase heart rate is important, remember that it is easy to push too hard and overtax the heart and body. Whatever workout is chosen, ease into it. Do not expect to run for an hour if exercise has been ignored for a month. For those looking to increase calorie burn and lose weight, many fitness experts believe that longer workouts at a moderate pace will burn more fat than intensely paced, exhausting ones.
The best cardiovascular workout is one that provides results. Chart progress from day one in order to have a clear picture of whether the exercise is working or not. If after four weeks, weight, endurance level, or strength hasn't changed, consider switching to a new workout or consulting a fitness expert about how to improve a workout strategy. Keeping track of results can also provide vital motivation when tempted to quit or skip another day.