Fitness enthusiasts and beginners want to do everything right and leave no space for confusion. However, the numerous fitness terminologies usually bounce over our heads and leave us in doubt. We may often hear the terms’ aerobics’ and ‘cardio’ in many fitness forms. Many ask, ‘Are the two same?’ and the most straightforward answer to it is ‘Yes.’
The only difference between the two is the origin of the words. Aerobics stems from greek ‘aerobic,’ meaning ‘with oxygen,’ and Cardio derives from Latin ‘cor’ and greek ‘Kardia’ referring to ‘the heart.’
Now you may be wondering how and why?
Keeping it simple, the mechanisms behind the two are slightly different, but both exercises perform the same job. To understand further, Cardio emphasizes increased heartbeat and blood circulation, whereas Aerobics defines increased oxygen usage. The result is the same as exercising increases our heart rate and leads to heavy breathing, which pumps oxygen and blood to our muscles.
Defining Aerobics & Cardio?
Dr Keneeth H Cooper defines Aerobics to meet three primary criteria:
- Heavy breathing leads to increased oxygen usage,
- Engaging larger muscle groups,
- Ability to perform the activity continuously.
Although, Cardio is referred to as any fitness form that leads to increased heart rate. Activities like swimming, cycling, jogging, dancing, playing tennis, and others constitute cardio exercises resulting in heavy breathing and more oxygen intake.
The main focus is on performing the exercise in circuit function, which means doing it repeatedly over more extended periods to increase heart rate and enhance strength, stamina, and muscle rather than just weight lifting.
But what do we mean by exercising in a circuit function? It directs to the critical feature of cardio workouts where you do not feel like stopping or taking a rest in a short span. For instance, you start sweating and breathe heavily when cycling or skiing, but you can still easily continue it.
Basic Workout Purpose:
Whatever exercise you perform, even if the mechanism is different, you simultaneously fulfill both. It means you achieve identical results. The idea behind Aerobics & Cardio is to train your lungs to take in more oxygen, your heart to supply more oxygen-carrying blood in every beat, and your muscle to efficiently use the oxygen supply.
The main aim of these fitness forms is to warm up the body and prepare it for tedious workout routines. Your trainer will help you perform either Cardio or Aerobics or Zumba (a form of dancing), or they also term it simply as a warm-up. All of them serve the same purpose and make the body behave similarly. Therefore, it is impossible to separate Cardio from aerobic or vice versa. Doing Cardio implies working out aerobically.
Further in the article, we refer to both the terms as interchangeable because you cannot do one without the other.
Benefits of Cardio and Aerobics:
The purpose and benefits of Aerobics are mostly the same. However, making additions to the same, Cardio exercises also help increase the number and size of mitochondria (the powerhouse of each cell in the body). It helps to convert oxygen to energy.
Moreover, it yields significant health benefits like controlling high cholesterol levels, reducing type 2 diabetes risk, lowering blood pressure, and improving immunity.
Overall, like any other muscle in the body, it helps maintain heart health, a muscle to be trained.
Every weight loss journey requires many components to be in place. Although everybody demands a different workout pattern and enjoying it is also essential. It needs you to choose your exercises accordingly.
Let’s look at some of the common benefits of these exercises:
- Physical Fitness: Aerobics requires consistency to improve your fitness level and constantly fuel your body to burn down carbohydrates and fat. Cardio also helps enhance balance and body flexibility.
- Weight loss: Aerobics is a great way to tone your muscles and build a posture while burning calories and maintaining a deficit diet along with it.
- Bone and Joint health: Running, skipping and jumping help improve bones density among people of all ages and help with osteoarthritis and other similar conditions.
- Brain Health: Physical activity helps lower the risk of dementia and other age-related conditions.
- Mental Health: Cardio is known to improve your mental health by uplifting your mood stress management leading to better sleep, controlling anxiety and depression.
Exercises you can do at home (without instruments)
You can engage in a ton of activities to reap cardiovascular benefits. Department of Health and Human Services suggests an individual indulge in 150 minutes to 300 minutes of physical activity per week or 75 minutes to 150 minutes of high-intensity cardio workout.
- HIIT Cardio: High-Intensity Interval Training is a widely popular and beneficial type of cardio workout having equal or long rest intervals between high-intensity cardio burst exercises.
- LISS: Low-Intensity Steady State is another type of cardio involving steady exercising with minimum or no break.
- Others: There are many more activities that constitute aerobics. Some of them are- Jumping Jacks, Skipping, Gardening, Brisk walking, jogging or running and swimming.
The significant difference between all the exercises is the level of intensity, meaning how much you need to push yourself to complete.
Tips and Takeaways:
As we know, the more you practice, the better it gets and the more the benefits to reap. But it would be best if you do not forget that excess is always dangerous. Pushing yourself more than required could lead to bruises, shortness of breath, and body pains- affecting the consistency.
There is no limit on how much is too much. So listen to your body. Consult a physician if you have health issues or seek guidance from a trainer to get the most out of each aerobic exercise. Find your sweet point and optimal levels to help you stay committed to a routine. Lastly, Aerobics or Cardio, start small and push yourself up.
Let us know what’s your favorite Cardio! Happy working out!