A Beginner’s Guide to Cardio

If you’re reading this, chances are you’re fairly new to working out – so first, congratulations on your new quest to better health!  In just a short time you’ll already begin to feel better, and in just a little more time, you’ll look better, too. In the meantime, however, there’s cardio – the bane to many fit people’s existence.  But it doesn’t have to be this way – and our 3-point beginner’s guide to cardio will you have you enjoying getting fit in no time.

Treadmills aren't the only means of good cardio workouts.

Point # 1

Cardio is not one-size-fits-all.

Regardless of what some guru or celebrity personal trainer insists is the best and only way of doing things (most likely just so you’ll buy/subscribe/follow whatever they’re offering), the great thing about aerobic, heart-pumping exercises is that there are so many easy ones to choose from.  Leisurely bike rides, swimming, light jogging, trekking through your local park, playing with your kids in the backyard, dog walking, and even regular walking are excellent ways of meeting your aerobic quota.  And best of all, most of these are no- or low-cost and require nothing more than comfortable attire and a willingness to actually get up and do them.  The rest takes care of itself.

Point # 2

It’s OK to go at your own pace.

Again, not to beat a dead horse (since we’re not into that sort of thing here at VitaStrength), but sometimes you just have to tune out the noise.  Ignore people who don’t know your personal journey and health quest, all the things it took to initiate said quest, any physical limitations you may have, and so on.

Don’t compare yourself to other people; go at your own pace – whatever that may be – and gradually work your way up to more strenuous goals.  Your 20 minutes of casual walking is just as valid as your gym-rat cousin’s 60 minutes of 5-mile-an-hour somersaults and triple-axle lunges on an inclined treadmill.  And anyone who belittles your efforts with an onslaught of unsolicited cardio workout “advice” simply needs to mind their own fitness.  Be sure to tell them that, too.

Point # 3

Something is always better than nothing.

It’s easy to become discouraged when you’re starting a new fitness plan, especially when you’ve never worked out before and the pressure to meet certain standards competes with the conflicting advice swarming around the Internet, and in your own head.

But don’t give up!  The 15 or 20 minutes you can (comfortably) manage at this point in your fitness quest is undoubtedly better than spending that same amount of time passively entrenched in unhealthy habits.  No matter what you manage every day, some cardio is always better than none at all!

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