What is Cardio Toning?

Diane Goettel
Diane Goettel

Cardio toning is a kind of exercise that mixes cardio exercises that burn fat with toning exercises that strengthen the muscles in the body. This kind of exercise is often practiced by people who are trying to lose weight and tone their muscles simultaneously. There are a number of ways to practice cardio toning. One of the most popular ways is to follow exercise routines as part of a class or as part of an exercise video program.

Cardio toning can include push-ups.
Cardio toning can include push-ups.

Many gyms offer their members access to classes led by trained fitness instructors as well as access the the exercise equipment and on-site facilities such as swimming pools and squash courts. It is very common for cardio toning to be part of the class schedule maintained by a gym. Some gyms even offer a few levels of cardio toning, with classes for beginners who are just starting their efforts to lose weight and tone their bodies as well as classes for people who have been practicing this kind of exercise for a long period of time and are trying to maintain and make slight improvements to their physique.

Swimming is a whole body cardiovascular exercise.
Swimming is a whole body cardiovascular exercise.

Instructional videos for cardio toning are often more cost-effective than a gym membership but do not provide the personal attention that one can receive as part of a cardio toning class at a gym. These videos are either sold separately with programs for people at various fitness and weight levels or as a progressive package that should be moved through as the body gets leaner and the muscles get stronger. Sometimes people use cardio toning videos along with friends or family members in order to feel a sense of community while they are working out and to have a support system to keep them on track.

Jumping jacks are often part of the early part of cardio toning.
Jumping jacks are often part of the early part of cardio toning.

A typical cardio toning routine begins with a period of warming up the body through gentle stretches and movements. Once the body is warm and the muscles have been stretched a bit, light cardio exercise begins and is periodically increased in intensity for up to five minutes. The beginning exercise may include jogging in place, using an exercise bike, or doing jumping jacks.

Cardio toning is often practiced by people seeking to lose weight and tone their muscles simultaneously.
Cardio toning is often practiced by people seeking to lose weight and tone their muscles simultaneously.

Then the routine begins to move into exercises that keep the heart rate up while also working to tone the muscles. Squats, lunges, and push ups are common exercises for toning. During the rest of the routine, cardio exercises are interspersed with a variety of toning exercises. When the workout is over, it is important to cool down and stretch all of the muscles.

Squash courts are offered at gyms for cardio fitness.
Squash courts are offered at gyms for cardio fitness.
Push-ups strengthen and tone the chest, arms and shoulders.
Push-ups strengthen and tone the chest, arms and shoulders.
Diane Goettel
Diane Goettel

In addition to her work as a freelance writer for wiseGEEK, Diane is the executive editor of Black Lawrence Press, an independent publishing company based in upstate New York. She has also edited several anthologies, the e-newsletter Sapling, and The Adirondack Review. Diane has a B.A. from Sarah Lawrence College and an M.A. from Brooklyn College.

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