The cardiovascular system in the body is responsible for distributing blood. Doing cardio exercises will help a person develop more energy, lose weight, and increase strength, so many people looking to lead healthier lives turn to cardio workouts. Cardio exercises range from simply walking to more strenuous exercises such as cycling, rowing, and even dancing. The idea behind this type of exercise is to get the blood flowing through the body to strengthen the heart and to increase oxygen delivery, thereby making lung function more efficient. Such exercises can help keep diseases at bay and keep weight from fat from building up in the body.
Most cardio exercises need to be performed for an extended period of time, and they need to be done regularly, for the body to reap any benefit from them. If a person is not used to cardio exercises, he or she may want to start with easier exercises, such as walking briskly for a half hour or more, to get the body used to the strain of exercise. Light jogging is a good step up from walking, though people with knee problems or chronic back pain may want to avoid running and instead try using an elliptical trainer that mimics the motion of walking or running without the direct impact on joints.
More strenuous cardio exercises include swimming, running, cycling, and aerobics. Running is one of the more high impact cardio exercises, and while plenty of health benefits can be derived from running, one should be careful of the sport's impact on the joints, particularly the knees and hips. Many people turn to cycling as an alternative because it is far lower impact on the joints. Cycling can be done on-road or off-road for cardiovascular benefit, though an investment in equipment will be necessary. Stationary bikes can be used at home or at the gym to obtain the same benefits without as much of an investment, but the bikes at the gym are generally less adjustable for the person's body.
Activities such as dancing can also be considered cardio exercises, as the heart must work harder to pump blood and the lungs must take in more oxygen to support the muscles of the body. This is a fun alternative for someone who wants a more rigorous workout but does not feel comfortable with running, cycling, or swimming. Fast-paced dancing is more beneficial in this regard for improving cardiovascular performance, though for some people, light to moderate dancing will produce benefits as well.