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Cardio, short for cardiovascular exercise, is any form of physical activity that elevates your heart rate and increases circulation to help improve the health of your heart and lungs.

What does it mean?

Cardio is a type of exercise that taxes your cardiovascular system, which consists of your heart, lungs, and circulatory system. It involves doing activities such as running, cycling, swimming, or aerobics, for an extended period of time to improve your overall endurance, stamina, and fitness level.

Examples of Cardio

Some examples of cardio exercises that you can do include:

  • Running or jogging
  • Cycling
  • Swimming
  • Dancing
  • Jump rope
  • Kickboxing

Synonyms and Antonyms

Some synonyms for cardio include aerobic exercise, endurance training, and cardiovascular training. Conversely, antonyms for cardio would be lifting">weight lifting or resistance training, which do not have the same effect on the cardiovascular system.

Related Terms

Related terms that you may hear in relation to cardio include:

  • VO2 Max - the maximum amount of oxygen your body can utilize during exercise
  • Pulse Rate - the number of times your heart beats per minute
  • Target Heart Rate - the optimal heart rate range to achieve the maximum benefits of cardiovascular exercise

Confused Terms

Cardio is often used interchangeably with aerobic exercise, but it is just one component of aerobic exercise. Aerobic exercise also includes exercises that strengthen your muscles, such as weight lifting or body-weight exercises.

Madeleine Smith

Content Lead at

Madeleine is passionate about empowering individuals with the information and tools they need to transform their bodies and lives.