Hip hop cardio is a form of fitness routine that uses hip hop dance moves to get people physically active so they can exercise their cardiovascular systems. Hip hop music and dance originate in the hip hop culture that developed in New York City's Black and Latino communities in the 1970s. Music arising from this culture is known for its lively beats, sampling of music by other artists, and looped or repetitive percussive rhythms. Hip hop cardio is often offered in settings like gyms and fitness centers for people who want to take fitness classes. In addition, people can purchase or rent videos that provide instruction and guided workout sessions that vary in length from half an hour to an hour, and can be adjusted to meet specific needs if an exerciser has special concerns.
In cardiovascular exercise, also known simply as cardio, the goal is to get the heart rate up and to sustain a high heart rate throughout an exercise routine. This form of exercise is also known as aerobic exercise. It provides benefits to the heart and circulatory system and also helps people develop stronger lungs. Cardio is used as a standalone exercise program to keep fit, as part of a weight loss program, and as cross-training for people involved in other athletic activities to keep the heart healthy.
In hip hop cardio, people use dance moves developed by hip hop performers and artists to get their hearts racing. The exercise starts with stretching that is designed to loosen up the muscles prior to exercise, followed by the cardiovascular exercise and then a cool down period with more muscle stretches. Some people also engage in floor work during cool down to develop their abdominal muscles.
Hip hop music is played during the exercise to give people a beat to follow. Music with a strong, simple, fast beat is helpful for exercising because it can help people set and reach a pace that they can sustain throughout their exercise session. In hip hop cardio, the rhythmic beat keeps exercisers on track and also provides entertainment, preventing boredom during exercise. People can adjust the music as needed to work out faster or slower and some fitness stores and magazines sell music mixes that are designed to be used during activities like hip hop cardio and other dance workouts.
Hip hop cardio routines can integrate a variety of dance moves that are intended to keep the heart active while stretching and developing the muscles. People can work out with steps that provide more physical challenges and they can also integrate moves on the floor. Gyms usually offer classes tailored to several different fitness and experience levels so that beginners and advanced students alike can find the best class for their needs.