Gold Member Badge
0

Notifications

  • You're all caught up!

Is There a Difference Between Cardio and Aerobic Exercise?

by 
author image Ryn Gargulinski
Ryn Gargulinski is a writer, artist and performer whose journalism career began in 1991. Credits include two illustrated books, "Bony Yoga" and "Rats Incredible." She holds a Master of Arts in English literature and folklore and a Bachelor of Fine Arts in creative writing with a French minor from Brooklyn College.
Is There a Difference Between Cardio and Aerobic Exercise?
Is There a Difference Between Cardio and Aerobic Exercise? Photo Credit: takoburito/iStock/GettyImages

Stop fretting if you think you cannot possibly fit both cardio and aerobic exercise into your busy schedule. When you're doing cardio, you're exercising aerobically. The terms are interchangeable and the exercises provide the same benefits, although the words stem from different origins.

Video of the Day

Easy Answer

Gym machines offer a way to fit in your 150 minutes of moderate-intensity cardio weekly.
Gym machines offer a way to fit in your 150 minutes of moderate-intensity cardio weekly. Photo Credit: Antonio_Diaz/iStock/Getty Images

Aerobic exercise and cardio exercise are the same thing. Both terms refer to exercise that achieves the identical results: improved fitness by increasing both your oxygen intake and heart rate. When you increase your respiratory rate by moving the large muscles of the body, your heart pumps harder and faster. "Cardio" and "aerobic" are synonymous with the concept of endurance exercise.

Read more: What is the Difference Between Aerobic and Anaerobic Exercise?

Technical Answer

Running and jogging builds stamina.
Running and jogging builds stamina. Photo Credit: Estudi M6/iStock/Getty Images

If you want to get technical about the terms, they do have different etymologies and definitions, even though the two types of exercise achieve the same results. Aerobic refers to oxygen intake, with the term “aerobic” stemming from the Greek “with oxygen.” Cardio refers to your heart, stemming from the Latin “cor” and Greek “kardia.” Thus aerobic exercise is defined as exercise that promotes a greater oxygen intake and cardio exercise is exercise that promotes a greater heart rate.

But, when you raise your heart rate, your oxygen intake automatically increases and vice versa. While "cardio" and "aerobic" are technically different, they happen simultaneously and cannot be separated. When you perform a cardio workout, you're working aerobically.

Types of Cardio

Swimming provides a good aerobic and cardiovascular workout.
Swimming provides a good aerobic and cardiovascular workout. Photo Credit: myrainjom01/iStock/Getty Images

If you’re still not convinced cardio and aerobic exercises are one in the same, check out some examples. Swimming, jogging, running, walking, dancing, bicycling, playing tennis and other activities that keep you moving for a sustained period provide an aerobic and cardio workout. The intensity and duration of each determines how many calories you burn and the effects on your overall fitness level.

What It Is Not

Yoga isn't considered aerobic or cardiovascular exercise.
Yoga isn't considered aerobic or cardiovascular exercise. Photo Credit: Denis Raev/iStock/Getty Images

On the flip side of the mat, so to speak, certain workouts do not fall into the category of aerobic or cardio exercise. Although you may experience a quick burst of oxygen or briefly raise your heart rate, these activities are not sustained for long enough to qualify as aerobic. Weight lifting and other strength training, yoga and other flexibility training, speed training and power training are not aerobic or cardio. Such activities improve your overall fitness in ways aerobic and cardio exercises do not, but their primary goal is not to increase your respiratory and cardiovascular endurance.

Read more: How Does Exercise Affect the Cardiovascular System?

LiveStrong Calorie Tracker
Lose Weight. Feel Great! Change your life with MyPlate by LIVESTRONG.COM
GOAL
  • Gain 2 pounds per week
  • Gain 1.5 pounds per week
  • Gain 1 pound per week
  • Gain 0.5 pound per week
  • Maintain my current weight
  • Lose 0.5 pound per week
  • Lose 1 pound per week
  • Lose 1.5 pounds per week
  • Lose 2 pounds per week
GENDER
  • Female
  • Male
lbs.
ft. in.

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

Demand Media