Cardio. For some, it's a dreaded word, and for others, it's a passion they can't get enough of. Either way, you look at it though, cardiovascular exercise is one of the key components that should never be left out of a fitness plan.
Cardio, short for cardiovascular exercise, is any movement that gets your heart rate up and increases blood circulation throughout the body. There are various forms and methods of performing a cardio exercise - all which will have specific benefits and guidelines.
Most individuals performing cardio are using it as a way to burn off excess calories, and since you are moving the body, it is going to increase the need for energy. Some forms are slightly better when strictly speaking of fat loss, but all cardio regardless of the form will burn off calories. Since fat loss does depend on calories burned versus calories consumed it is a step in the right direction.
Here are 8 reasons why cardio exercises are so crucial for your health:
1. Helps Lose Weight
To lose weight, you need to burn more calories than you take in. Cardio is very effective at burning calories and fat. According to a recent study that compared varying amount of cardio and its effect on weight loss in obese and overweight individuals. Those who burned 600 calories for 5 days a week doing cardio were successful at losing 5.7% of their body weight. Those who burned 400 calories for 5 days a week lost slightly less, 4.3% of their weight. Those who did not exercise in contrast gained 0.5% of weight during the same period.
Furthermore, this is atypical result seeing in studies on a link between cardio and weight loss. Many other studies have reported cardio can help you burn fat and lose weight. If you are trying to lose weight, adding cardio to your weight loss program will likely to help you lose and manage a healthy weight and improve your metabolic health.
2. Improved Heart Health
One of the reasons for doing cardio exercises is it can improve the condition of your heart. Your heart is a muscle just like any other, and for it to become strong, it must be worked. If you fail to work it, it will weaken over time, and this can cause a variety of adverse health effects.
By getting the heart pumping at a faster rate on a regular basis, you will keep it in shape and healthy. Too many people are getting winded just performing simple exercises such as walking up the stairs, and the primary reason for this is because they are neglecting to work their heart muscle.
3. Improves Endurance
A daily session of cardio improves aerobic capacity, i.e., enhances the ability of the cells to utilize oxygen efficiently, which enables a person to perform strenuous activities for a longer duration without fatigue. The hormonal response to exercise is also reduced, and the cardiac output increases, thus improving endurance. The higher the endurance, the higher the functional efficiency of the heart.
4. Promotes Brain Health
Research reported that regular cardiovascular exercises could improve your brain health. In one study, researchers found that sweaty, heart-pumping aerobic exercise appears to increase the size of the hippocampus, the brain area relating to verbal memory and learning. They did not see the same effectiveness from resistance training.
Another study made similar discoveries. They found that cardio whether short or long-term can boost one’s memory and overall brain health in addition to those otherwise sedentary adults’ physical fitness.
5. Manage Chronic Conditions
Aerobic exercise may help lower blood pressure and control blood sugar. If you have coronary artery disease, aerobic exercise may help you manage your condition.
6. Increased Metabolism
Another reason to perform cardio is for its effects on the metabolism. Along with speeding up your heart rate, cardiovascular exercise also increases the rate of various other processes in the body, also known as your metabolism.
Generally speaking, the more intense the cardio session, the more noticeable increase you will see with regards to your metabolic rate. Intense interval sprints (also known as HIIT) increase the metabolism; the highest with a process called EPOC (Excess Post-exercise Oxygen Consumption). An increased metabolism means a more relaxed time maintaining your weight (or losing weight as the case may be).
7. Boosts Your Mood
Aerobic exercise may ease the gloominess of depression, reduce the tension associated with anxiety and promote relaxation.
8. Improved Hormonal Profile
Performing cardiovascular exercise also changes the hormonal profile in your body considerably. It releases 'feel good' hormones that will help ease symptoms of depression and fatigue as well as releasing hormones that decrease the appetite.
Individuals who partake in regular cardio exercise often have a much more positive outlook on life simply because they are getting the stress-relief benefits from these hormones.
Cardio is proven effective and important for optimal health. The best part is cardio exercises are free and can be done anywhere. It doesn't even require any exercise equipment to perform. By adding cardio to your daily life, you can begin to experience many of these incredible health benefits. In this post, I shared with you 8 reasons why cardio exercises are so crucial for your health.
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