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Cardio and weight training are two important components of well-balanced fitness plans. Knowing which types of exercises fall into which category can help you construct your workouts more effectively, and can give you more options so you don't get bored with your workouts. When designing your fitness plan, consider adding some stretching and flexibility training. Simply add a few minutes of stretching at the end of your cardio and weight training workouts.
Cardio, or aerobic, exercises require you to move the large muscle groups in your hips, legs and arms. The movement must be continuous and rhythmic, and you must move for a sustained period. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that adults get at least 2 1/2 hours of moderate-intensity cardio exercise each week. Alternately, you can perform an hour and 15 minutes of vigorous cardio exercise. By regularly performing cardio exercise, you can improve your cardiovascular health, manage your weight more easily and enjoy a sense of well-being.
Examples of Cardio Exercises
Examples of cardio exercise include basketball, biking, brisk walking, dancing, jogging, jumping rope, rowing, running, swimming, tennis and water aerobics. Even some household chores -- such as mowing the lawn -- can count as cardio. The intensity with which you perform these activities determines whether they are moderate or vigorous. Moderate-intensity cardio exercises will raise your heart rate and make you breathe faster, while still allowing you to talk. When performing vigorous cardio exercises, you will find it difficult to say more than just a few words before pausing to breathe.
Weight Training Exercises
In weight-training exercises, you generally focus on one muscular group at a time, doing enough repetitions of the exercise to tire the muscles. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that adults do weight-training exercises at least twice a week. Ideally, target all your major muscle groups: chest, shoulders, arms, abdomen, back, hips and legs. By performing weight-training exercises, you can build strength in your muscles, increase the amount of lean muscle in your body, manage your weight more easily and lower your risk of injury.
Examples of Weight-Training Exercises
You can perform weight-training exercises with free weights -- dumbbells and barbells. Examples of these exercises include biceps curls and squats. Weight machines offer other options for weight training. You can perform leg presses, standing calf raises, chest flyes and pull-down exercises on these machines. Other types of weight-training exercises require you to move your own body weight. These include triceps dips, situps and pushups. Although technically not weight-training exercises, resistance band exercises offer more options for strength training. You can perform variations on traditional weight-training exercises -- such as biceps curls, lunges, chest flyes and overhead presses -- with these resistance bands.