Cardiovascular exercise is something known by many and liked by a few.
It is simple and easy to understand, and you can implement it almost anywhere. With it being such a simple modality of exercise, it also comes with some downsides. Whereas resistance and weight training is more complex to understand, it has (in my opinion) more upsides.
The problem with cardiovascular exercise is not that is bad; it is just not as great as resistance training. Both resistance training and cardio get your heart rate up. However, resistance training builds muscle which is a passive way to burn calories (Increase in muscle = increase in calories burned every day).
The one huge positive about cardio is using it as a supplement to weight training. There is a limit to how much weight training an individual can do. Still, anyone can supplement some jogging, or walking, to increase calorie expenditure and improve recovery and overall health.
I recommend cardio based on three primary variables. Enjoyment, Goals, and What you Need.
Enjoyment is fairly simple. If you enjoy something, you will do it repeatedly without much motivation. In general, I recommend other modes of exercise besides cardio, but if you simply enjoy running. Do it! You will feel much better about exercise if you can do what you enjoy.
On the other hand, if you absolutely hate cardio, just like me. Don’t force yourself to do it. I would rather you make slower progress and love what you are doing than hate going to the gym and making slightly faster progress. There are many other ways to exercise and get similar results to cardio. You can also try more enjoyable ways to do cardio, such as walking and watching tv on your phone or with friends. Walking is a great option if you do not like running or jogging.
If your goal is to run in a race, heart health, or something related to running, well… of course, you should be engaging in cardio. The goals you may have tied into what you enjoy so they may go hand in hand.
In addition, if your goal is to lose weight, I would recommend a level of cardio you would still enjoy. Whether it be 20 minutes of running, jogging, or walking daily. It is better than nothing! It should also be a mode of walking you can easily do every day.
What you need
If you need to do cardio for weight loss, or heart health, I would also recommend cardio on some level. An enjoyable form of walking 2-3 times a week for 20 mins is a good start. To really see progress, work up to taking walks 2x daily for 20 minutes. However, start small and work your way up once you feel comfortable.
Walking is a great form of cardio! Many benefits without the downside of it being painful and grueling. Even more so, supplementing weight training with walking is incredibly beneficial also!