Back in grade school it was fun running around on the playground, playing ball and just being able to move. When High School came around there were times where we had to test strength, stamina and flexibility in various areas in P.E. Back then I wasn't in any shape for running hell even sprinting for that matter and didn't have any real stamina to show for; I was pretty strong though and was able to move a lot of weight naturally for my age but I also had no flexibility that gave any incentive to my peers. I didn't understand cardio at the time, all I heard of what cardio was was just running long distances. I couldn't jog if my life depended on it and always failed at the mile test averaging 12-14 min. a mile which is pretty damn slow for them and you're considered weak and not in shape.
I mainly focused on strength in those days even before I broke my legs by going to the gym and just lifting heavy shit and that was it. From the bench press to the cable rows I did the best to my abilities to naturally get very strong without the use of steroids or P.E.Ds. I did get pretty strong without any coaching or being taught the fundamentals of lifting, I did it all on my own and learned from books and checking out guys like Ronnie Coleman & Jay Cutler. It wasn't until I broke my legs that strength wasn't the answer to all my attributes for fitness.
You've read my story on what I did at first when I started walking again; doing the Hindu Squats, Hindu Push-ups & the Bridge for a month; I never did that kind of cardio and strength training so at 21 I decided to make the most out of developing every attribute possible that I can learn and absorb knowledge on. At first it was just rehabbing my legs, than I started developing better conditioning and stamina, the strength came naturally and my flexibility was shooting the through the roof.
Now what is the whole point of all this or why am I still rambling about cardio and haven't fully mentioning the animals or running? Well, for the most part I hate running with a capital "H" but I do like sprinting. It wasn't until the last few years that Animal Exercises were my calling for utilizing the areas of cardio conditioning, functional strength and overall fitness that they're far better than running is and for good reasons: With running or jogging, you're only using specific muscles and going for distance at a specific pace but yet due to recent research, it can cause injuries especially in the ankles and heels not just the legs or feet. With animal moves, you're using your whole body in various positions where everything is engaged.
Animals reflect on using the natural formations of muscular movement such as crawling, jumping, balancing, climbing & coordinating and providing the ability to utilize many fitness attributes into one shot; Jogging isn't necessarily a natural form of movement but more of an isolated outlook to the nature of what real running is and that's running hard and/or fast like sprinting, chasing prey and other natural formalities. Early man didn't jog as a way to get fit; he ran like hell to get away from predators, ran hard to catch food, rushed his body into battle. Jogging is a systematic form of unnatural running. Animal Exercise take on the ideal of what early men had to do in order to survive. He had to climb, jump, swim and outrun what could potentially kill him or chase prey to feed his family/tribe/himself. Cardio when broken down is a term where you sustain a level of your heart rate whether in a short or long period of time. You can do 500 Squats and it'll still count as cardio, you can do 1000 Kettlebell swings it'll still count as cardio and you can do 5-10 Hill Sprints; that's still cardio. I choose to do animal movements because for me they're a sure fire to have hit peak levels of my heart rate and power up my lung capacity and develop a metabolism and fat burning zone even hours after a playout.
You can do Animals as fast or as slow as you want, either way your heart rate will go up and your fat burning zone will come into play because the more muscles you use, the higher chances of burning major calories and building powerful muscle in the process. Some of the greatest athletes on the planet have done animal moves to hit peak levels of cardiovascular conditioning. You don't need an insane amount of hours to get in high physical condition, just 30 minutes or less a day and you can get into a level of cardio similar to running 10 miles it is that powerful. The stamina you will develop and the ability to be nearly as strong in the end just as you started is what makes this so superior to many other forms of exercise. Want to get stronger lungs; do animal moves, want a stronger core; do animal moves, want powerful and enduring legs; do animal moves. Because of this method I'm in far better shape than I ever was in my teens and if I had a chance to go back in time to talk to a 16 year old Ben, I'd tell to get his ass into gear doing animal exercises; who knows what would've been if I had that knowledge then.