The health benefits of cardio training are many. It helps burn fatty acids, increases stamina, lowers blood pressure, improves bone density, and the list goes on. I, personally, do not like cardio. I would rather clean my toilet than do cardio training. I find it boring and you cannot 'visibly' see results like you can with weight training. But, alas, we do not live in Tracy's world.
Cardio exercise should be a fundamental part of any exercise program. The term 'cardio' is short for cardiovascular. That is the system of the body that involves the heart and blood vessels. Cardio exercise increases your heart rate which, in turn, increases blood flow to the muscles and lungs. It also causes your vessels to widen to deliver oxygen to your muscles and carry away waste products (carbon dioxide and lactic acid). The release of endorphins, natural painkillers, to increase well-being is also a response of your body to this type of training.
Cardio training can come in many forms; playing sports, running, swimming, walking, and cycling amongst others. You may ask, 'where do I start'? If you are a beginner, I would recommend you start out walking or light jogging for about 20-30 minutes a day, 3 days per week. If you have been exercising for about 6 months or more you can increase the amount of time to 4-5 days per week or mix it up by doing HIIT. HIIT is short for high intensity interval training. This is where you run/sprint for a short time then recover. Ex., sprint for 20 seconds, recover for 40 seconds. As you become stronger, you can increase the sprint time and decrease the recovery time. HIIT burns more calories in less time than steady state cardio.
When picking a cardio program, choose one you will enjoy so you will stick to it. Always mix it up as your body adjusts quickly and you may become bored. Drink plenty of water to keep you hydrated. And last, get a clearance from your doctor before beginning any exercise program.