Cardiovascular exercise elevates your heart rate, which burns extra calories and can help reduce your risk for circulatory problems like heart disease, high blood pressure and stroke. Cardio X and running workouts are two of many options for cardiovascular exercise, each with their own approach and level of contribution to your cardiovascular capacity. Which is better for you will depend on your needs and preferences.
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Cardio X Basics
Cardio X is an optional workout in the P90X fitness program. It's a 40-minute workout that includes elements of martial arts, yoga, plyometrics and a core workout. Like other video aerobics workouts, the moves are set to driving music and led at a rhythmic cadence. Although the video is called "Cardio X," it's not just a cardiovascular workout. It includes elements of resistance training and body weight exercise in addition to moves calculated to increase your heart rate.
Chances are you know how to run -- you've likely been doing it off-and-on since you were a toddler. Running elevates your heart rate by demanding more oxygen because of the rapid movement in the large muscles in your thighs and rear end. You can choose from a variety of running workouts, for example long-distance running, sprinting, intervals and treadmill sessions.
If your primary goal for working out is to lose weight, comparing how many calories a workout burns can help you make an informed decision. According to health resource website NutriStrategy, a 155-pound person will burn between 600 and 800 calories per hour of running, depending on pace. Though NutriStrategy doesn't report the calorie burn of any individual brand-name workout, it does report on the constituent exercises in Cardio X -- adding up to between 400 and 500 calories per hour. For calorie burn and cardiovascular intensity, running may be a better choice than Cardio X.
Resistance training builds muscle in your body by forcing them to move under greater resistance than under normal circumstances. Although running does build strength and endurance in your legs, it's not a resistance workout. The yoga and plyometrics sections of Cardio X are direct resistance training, making Cardio X a better choice if you want a strength-building workout.
Cardio X is a home-based exercise video program, meaning that you can take in a session any time you have access to a DVD player and some floor space. Running is even more readily available, since you don't even need a DVD player. However, running can be harder to do if the weather doesn't cooperate. All things considered, Cardio X and running are equally available and convenient -- but one might be easier than the other given your particular individual situation.