Cardiovascular Exercises for Fitness


There are a number of different types of cardiovascular exercises, also known as cardio, aerobics  and aerobic exercises and each offers a variety of physical, emotional and recreational benefits.

Cardiovascular exercises can be categorized by the amount of impact that they have on the body. In high-impact training, such as running, the whole body leaves the ground at some point, causing a ‘high impact’ as you land. During low-impact aerobic exercise, however, some or all of the body is supported at any one point, thus causing less stress on the joints.

Some examples of different types of cardiovascular exercises are as follows:

Brisk walking

Impact: Low

Safe and gentle; the faster the speed, the greater the aerobic benefits.

Low-impact aerobics

Impact: Low

Enjoyable and effective; wear good trainers and work out on sprung floors.


Impact: Low

Enjoyable and effective; jogging or jumping on a rebounder provides the benefits of aerobic exercises but protects the joints.


Impact: Low

Safe and enjoyable; skating is a very sociable activity; always wear suitable knee and elbow protection.


Impact: Low

Enjoyable and effective; needs to be fast, so wear a helmet and avoid built-up areas where traffic will slow you down; alternatively use a stationary bike.


Impact: Low

Excellent form of aerobic exercise that protects the joints (swimming does not build bone so a weight-bearing form of exercise such as walking or jogging should also be performed).

cardiovascular exercises - running and aqua-aerobics


Impact: Low

Safe and gentle; the water supports the joints.


Impact: Low

Enjoyable and effective; needs to be fast, so use a machine in a gymnasium unless you are a professional or trained amateur.

Cardio-machines, such as treadmills

Impact: Low

Popular and effective; use a machine that combines arm and leg exercises.

Cross-country skiing

Impact: Low

Enjoyable and effective; uses a range of muscle groups; ski simulators are also available.


Impact: Medium

Safe and enjoyable; provides the same benefits as jogging but with less pounding on the knees and feet; wear good training shoes with firm soles, good arch support and well-padded heels.

Step aerobics

Impact: Medium

Popular and effective; put the whole foot on the step; add arm movements to increase intensity; keep step low to avoid knee strain.


Impact: Medium

Enjoyable form of aerobic exercise; needs to be fast and continuous to maximize aerobic benefits.


Impact: High

Popular and effective; wear supportive training shoes; use heel-toe action; run on grass, sand or tarmac rather than pavement.


Impact: High

Enjoyable and effective form of exercise that allows a variety of intensities; wear good training shoes and skip on a sprung floor or tarmac.

High-impact aerobics

Impact: High

More demanding than low-impact aerobics; high-impact aerobics should only be performed after good levels of basic fitness and stamina have been achieved.



To find out whether you are exercising at the right intensity, check your pulse for 10 seconds after 2-3 minutes of your workout and keep within the ranges listed below. To measure your pulse, place the index and middle finger about 2.5cm (1in) from the wrist on the underside of your arm. Count the number of pulses in 10 seconds and then multiply the total by six.


Age Beats in 10 Seconds
16 – 17 19 – 31
18 19 – 30
19 – 23 18 – 25
24 – 30 18 – 29
31 – 37 17 – 28
38 – 40 17 – 27
41 – 43 16 – 27
44 – 50 16 – 26
51 – 57 15 – 25
58 – 60 15 – 24
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