The term "cardio" is short for the word "cardio-vascular" and more specifically, the "cardiovascular system". It includes the heart as well as the entire network of arteries and veins that circulate blood throughout the body.
Like any system, it needs an engine, a pump to operate: here, that's our heart (which is, of course, a muscle).
By contracting regularly, the heart pumps blood more or less quickly in order to circulate it through this closed system. This autonomous "pumping" rhythm is better known as heart rate, expressed in beats per minute.
This circulation of blood to all of our organs is essential, since it is how oxygen is carried - which is vital for us all!
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