Light cardio exercise is appropriate for beginners, bodybuilders and people trying to gain weight. Typically, light cardio exercise simply is not enough to help a person get in shape because it doesn’t tax the cardiovascular system enough. Everyday activities such as shopping and doing laundry count as light cardio, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Light cardio exercise such as walking may be beneficial for bodybuilders because it won’t use up the calories they need to build muscle, according to the National Academy of Sports Medicine. Beginners and seniors also may benefit, as light cardio can introduce them to exercise without overworking their bodies.
Walk slowly or do activities such as cycling, water aerobics or gardening at a low intensity if you are new to exercise. Keep your speed at such a rate that you can talk and sing easily while working. Do low-intensity cardio exercise five days a week for 30 minutes for health and then work up to moderate intensity where you will no longer be able to sing, as recommended by the CDC.
Work up from 30 minutes at a low intensity to a moderate intensity for between 60 to 90 minutes daily if you want to lose weight, the CDC recommends.
Engage in light cardio exercise such as walking for 20 minutes two days a week, along with two to three days of strength training if you are trying to gain weight.
Perform light cardio exercise at 60 percent of your maximum heart rate at most three days a week for 20 to 30 minutes in addition to your strength training routine if your goal is muscle gain, NASM recommends. Use the American Council on Exercise's heart rate zone calculator to determine your beginner to advanced heart rate zone. Multiply your max heart rate by 60 percent, or 0.60, to get your target heart rate (THR) for light cardio. Take your pulse periodically or use a heart rate monitor to keep track of your pulse.
- Centers for Disease Control: How Much Physical Activity Do Adults Need?
- NASM Essentials of Personal Fitness Training: Course Manual; National Academy of Sports Medicine
- A Guide to Personal Fitness Training: Aerobic Fitness Association of America; Mary Yoke, M.A.
- ACE Fitness: Heart Rate Zone Calculator