If you’re in search of a workout that is fun and productive, consider cardio. Cardio, also known as aerobic exercise, comes in many forms; it includes a diverse range of exercises that get your heart rate up and make your lungs work harder to meet the body’s oxygen requirements. Common examples of cardio are running, cycling, jumping, swimming, and mountain climbing. These exercises engage large groups of muscles, so they challenge the body and utilize ample reserves of energy.
Most cardio exercises are easy and convenient to conduct, as they do not require specialized gear or equipment. They vary from low intensity to high intensity, so you can start with something light and less strenuous. Low impact cardio will allow your body to adapt to the activity, so you can increase the level of intensity later on. Cardio is safe for individuals of all ages, given that they practice in accordance to their physical capacity and competence.
Cardio is an efficient and effective means to achieve your health and fitness goals; 30 minutes of cardio 5 days a week is all you need. Now let us discuss the top ten benefits of including cardio in your daily routine:
1. Boosts Metabolism
Cardio exercises get the heart pumping faster and the body breaks down food to release energy at an accelerated pace. As a result, the metabolic rate increases and the body turns to burning fat deposits, once the available glucose is depleted. Many people who struggle with weight problems complain about having a low metabolic rate, i.e. the number of calories their body utilizes per unit time to maintain standard functions at rest is relatively low. Cardio is highly recommended to boost your metabolic rate, so you burn more calories in less time.
2. Improves Cognitive abilities
People who do not exercise or refrain from exerting themselves physically are known to experience mental decline at an early age. A person’s cognitive abilities are known to deteriorate after they reach the age of 50, but the regression can be delayed by incorporating 150 minutes of cardio per week. Exercise promotes cellular repair and regeneration by improving blood flow to all parts of the body, which includes the brain. People who go for a run, jog, or walk every day have a better memory, learning capacity, and problem solving skills.
3. Strengthens Immune System
Individuals who sit in one place all day or lead a lazy lifestyle are more susceptible to bacterial and viral infections. Cardio exercises alter the antibodies and white blood cells in our body, so they get better at detecting and fending off infectious agents. Cardio also enables the antibodies and cells to get around faster, thus underlying diseases are identified and dealt with quickly. Therefore, people who engage in aerobic exercise on a regular basis seldom fall sick or need to visit the doctor.
4. Increases Stamina
When you start doing cardio, it is typical to run out of breath and feel exhausted after a couple of minutes. However, if you keep it up, you will gradually be able to exercise for longer periods without getting tired. When the body gets used to an activity, you may exert yourself further by trying high impact exercises. Bit by bit, your body builds stamina to endure more strenuous body movement; this development is accompanied by a larger lung capacity and lower heart rate.
The enhanced lung capacity may allow you to hold your breath under water for longer, as well as breathe easily at high altitudes. Cardio training helps individuals cope with extreme physical challenges, so they don’t break under pressure.
5. Regulates Weight
Cardio is not just recommended to maintain fitness and health, but also for losing weight. Whether you are struggling with obesity or just need to get rid of a couple of stubborn extra pounds, cardio is exactly what you need. High impact cardio allows one to shed weight without any dietary restrictions. However, you can accelerate the weight loss process by shifting to healthier alternatives of food and limiting the total number of calories you eat in a day. Once you reach your target weight, you can allow yourself more cheat days and reduce the daily duration for exercise.
6. Prevents Heart Problems
Doctors frequently advise cardio to heart patients or individuals at a risk of developing cardiovascular diseases. Aerobic exercise facilitates the heart to pump blood more efficiently, whilst keeping the blood vessels clear and lowering blood pressure; this helps repair and strengthen the heart, thereby greatly reducing the chances of a stroke. Aim for about 45 minutes of moderate to vigorous aerobic activity at least three times a week, especially if you want to lower your blood pressure and cholesterol.
7. Drives away Insomnia
If you have trouble falling asleep due to anxiety or some other underlying health issue, cardio can help resolve it. Insomniacs can overcome the inability to fall into deep sleep by incorporating cardio exercises into their daily routine. When you break a sweat through cardio, you will feel relieved and pleasantly spent. Negative thoughts will disperse, as physical exhaustion promotes mindfulness. When you’re lying awake in bed (or tossing and turning), get up and tire yourself out with some cardio. For example, you can do jumping jacks and squats right there in your room.
8. Beats Fatigue
If you feel worn out all the time, you need to jerk yourself out of the snooze mode. You have sufficient reserves of energy, but you feel tired because your body is in a state of hibernation. Cardio exercise will allow you to elude the numbness and rejuvenate your senses. In the beginning, the vigorous motion will seem like too much work, but shortly you will feel active and full of energy. Your focus and productivity at work will increase drastically as well.
9. Uplifts Mood/Eliminates Depression
When you’re feeling down, resist the urge to binge-eat unhealthy snacks. The best way to unburden your mind and body is to exhaust the negative energy within you. Go for a run and push yourself to the limit in order to chase away all intrusive thoughts. When your heart rate and breathing returns to normal after a tough cardio session, you will good inside and out.
10. Fortifies bones and muscles
Cardio sets the inactive bones and muscles into motion, which can cause a little discomfort at the start. Your muscles are definitely going to cramp and your bones will seem rattled; rest assured that this is natural and positive. When you continue with cardio the next day and onwards, your bones and muscles pull through the pain and become stronger. Aerobic exercise makes you powerful, so you don’t hurt easy anymore.
Elijah Cole is the founder of The Witty Minds blog and a professional content creator. His expertise lies in creative writing and lifestyle blogging. At Witty Minds, he is the lead writer, editor, and publisher of all original content.