Still to this day I get frustrated with anyone who says they or someone else needs to do cardio. What is this word cardio that is thrown around so often that people don’t even understand it’s literal meaning. When I googled it right now, the definition of ‘cardio’ from the Merriam-Webster Dictionary reads,
“Cardio- Noun: Any type of exercise that causes the heart to beat faster and harder for a period of time.”
Ohhhh, I get it. So “cardio” is getting on a treadmill or stationary bicycle and moving for any period of time. Well, yes, but any means of exercise through which the heart rate is elevated fits the definition of cardio. Cardio is resistance training. Cardio is walking up a flight of stairs. Cardio is playing soccer with your kids. Cardio is MOVEMENT! Do we need the modern form of cardio which allows us to go miles and minutes on end without even moving from a confined area? No, not at all. It’s funny to think that with all the exercise opportunities that exist outside and all around us, we confine ourselves to these gyms and athletic clubs. We move in place for minutes to hours on end and in the end remain stationary. Essentially, we go nowhere.
The other day I had a great workout outside at Percy Warner State Park with one of my personal training clients. We had no script, no workout planned, just a starting point. As we set out, we found a trail through the woods and began to jog. A few minutes down the trail we came to a tree stump, which we stepped up to and did push-ups on. Then we came across a fallen tree, where we did walking lunges down the entire length while balancing. Then we came to a steep hill and decided to dodge the tree roots and sprint up it. It was great! There were no sets, no reps, no elapsed time, and no weights. There was only freedom of movement and expression. We weren’t doing what the gym allowed us to do with it’s equipment. But, we did what our body’s felt like doing. Now, that’s cardio!
Garrett McLaughlin is an Athletic Trainer, Personal Trainer, and Certified Active Release Techniques Provider in the Greater Nashville area. In addition to fitness and rehabilitation, Garrett compliments his programs with soft-tissue manual therapy to help his clients restore proper function and stay injury-free. For more information, contact Garrett.