Cardio workout: which machines should you go to the gym?

Written by Vijay Thakkar

If you think Covid-19 is the worst pandemic of the last century, you certainly haven’t looked at the statistics on cardiovascular disease (CVD) deaths. According to the World Health Organization (WHO) In 2016, the leading cause of death worldwide was CVDs at 1.77 million, such as ischemic heart disease and cerebrovascular disease, such as stroke. India accounts for 20 percent of these global deaths, especially among the young population. Recently, we have lost famous faces and famous singers to this dreaded disease, Siddharth Shukla, Raju Srivastava, Siddanath Vir Suryavanshi, KK, Rajiv Kapoor, Puneet Rajkumar, Chiranjeevi Sarja, Satish Kaushik, to name a few. On the other hand, celebrities like Sushmita Sen, Sunil Grover and Remo D’Souza have suffered from heart disease and have opted for bypass and stent surgery to prevent heart disease in the future.

So in today’s stressful world, taking care of your heart is essential to living a long and healthy life. Genetic influence on the development of heart disease is an irreversible risk factor. However, the good news is that weight management, exercise, diet, smoking and alcohol cessation, and high blood pressure are some of the things that can help reduce the risk of heart disease.

In today’s digitally advanced world, lack of physical activity and a sedentary lifestyle have been implicated in the rise in cardiovascular disease in India and around the world. A sedentary and stressful lifestyle makes our lungs and heart muscles weak and unable to cope with chronic mental stress. Therefore, regular exercise and engaging in 30 minutes of low-to-moderate cardiovascular activity each day is the only way to improve the cardiovascular system’s ability to handle chronic stress, its strength, and its ability to deliver oxygen-rich blood throughout the body.

The endurance system includes the lungs, heart, blood vessels, and skeletal muscles around your core, and the muscles in your flanks, back, abs, arms, and legs. Outdoor activities such as running and cycling are good ways to train your cardiovascular system. However, unfortunately due to the increase in pollution, especially in metro cities in India, it is not advisable to do outdoor activities because you will inhale dust and pollution, which will do more harm than good to your body.

Therefore, doing endurance training at home, such as in the gym, is a very beneficial area for training your endurance system and strengthening your cardiovascular muscles and reducing your risk of CVD later in life. Choosing the right machine for your cardio workout can seem overwhelming, but here’s a simple and comprehensive guide to start your journey to a stronger heart. But as always, test your heart rate and clear yourself of any routines you want to take on.

There are various cardio machines that you can use in the gym to get a good workout.

1. Treadmill: The treadmill simulates the act of walking, jogging or running outdoors without pollution and dust. So it is a contemporary choice for cardio workouts. Exercising at different speed settings, increasing the intensity of the movement and changing the muscle load can challenge different muscle groups and work in different cardiovascular systems. This treadmill is a versatile piece of equipment that can give you a variety of exercises and combinations.

2. Elliptical Trainer: Unlike a treadmill, which is high-impact running and affects your ankles, knees, and lower back muscles, the elliptical trainer is a low-impact machine that mimics the mechanics of running, reducing stress on the joints. Not only that, most elliptical trainers are good at improving upper body endurance because they have movable handles that simultaneously train and stretch your chest, back, and arm muscles to improve endurance. In general, elliptical trainers are a great choice for those with joint issues or looking for a more comfortable cardio workout.

3. Stationary Bike: Exercise bikes are a great way to train your cardiovascular system without putting too much stress on your joints because you do it in a seated position. You have two options: upright bikes, which look like a regular outdoor bike without the dust and pollution. Another alternative is the flexible bike, which is done in a more relaxed sitting position with back support.

4. Rowing Machine: Rowing machines are a unique offering that provides a full-body workout, heavily engages both your upper and lower body, and greatly improves your cardiovascular fitness. The great thing about rowing is that as your endurance fitness grows, you can adjust resistance levels, overcome adaptations, and increase strength, allowing you to adjust your workout accordingly.

5. Stair climbing; This machine mimics the mechanics of stair climbing and is a great option for targeting your lower body muscles, especially your glutes, hamstrings and quads, providing an amazing cardiovascular workout.

6. Arch Coach: This machine is similar to an elliptical trainer, which helps you train your upper and lower body. However, the arc movement provides a low-impact cardio workout that emphasizes the glutes, hamstrings, and quads. The unique design of the machine allows for a more natural range of motion and the resistance and incline can be adjusted to emphasize different muscle groups.

However, it is important to note that we should only start a cardio exercise program under the guidance and supervision of a health care expert or qualified exercise professional after clearing the stress test and obtaining their clearance that it is safe to exercise. When starting a cardio workout, it’s recommended to do an appropriate warm-up, assess your capacity, and work within your limits, always after getting approval from a certified professional when making an informed decision to increase intensity.

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