Updated: Mar 4, 2022
Do you really need cardio? What exercises should you do? How much should you do?
Continue reading below to learn more.
Cardiovascular exercise, or "cardio" for short, is defined as any physical activity that increases your heart rate for a sustained period of time. Some people love cardio and some people despise it, but we all need to do it if we value our health. The minimum recommendation is 150 minutes of moderate intensity cardio exercise every week. A total of 30 minutes on 5 days of every week is a common way to fill the minimum recommendation.
There are endless different activities that fall under the definition of cardiovascular exercise. A few example of cardio focused activities include: biking, swimming, running, walking, ellipticals, stair steppers, arm ergometers, row machines, ski machines, jogging, basketball, tennis, hiking, and much more.
Here is a list with some of the reasons why cardiovascular exercise is so beneficial to our mental and physical health.
#1 - Brain Health
Cardio increases the flow of oxygen rich blood to the brain. This decreases the risk of having a stroke, improves memory, and aids in the ability to think clearly. Unfortunately, brain function does gradually decline with age. By performing the minimum requirements of weekly cardio, you can help to delay this decline in brain function.
#2 - Circulatory Function
Being active increases the circulation of oxygen rich blood to everywhere in the body. This leads to clearer skin and a lower chance of blood clotting. Cardiovascular activity also causes your heart and lungs to adapt to the increased workload on your body, leading to more efficient function of your cardiorespiratory system as a whole. You will also develop stronger muscles, which leads to improvements in blood pressure.
Better blood circulation, along with improved blood pressure, lowers the chance of developing chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart diseases, and even some forms of cancer. This is also due to the fact that regular cardio exercise helps to regulate your blood sugar and cholesterol levels. Additionally, your heart is a muscle, so exercising the heart muscle causes the heart to be able to pump more blood with less heart beats. This leads to a lower resting heart rate and less stress on the heart tissue.
#3 - Sleep Quality
Burning extra calories throughout the day via exercising leads to the body falling asleep easier and staying asleep more. Regular cardio can even help to alleviate symptoms of insomnia and sleep apnea. Amazingly, even REM sleep occurs at a higher rate if a person has performed exercise during the day. People who suffer from a racing mind at bedtime may also experience calmer streams of thought before falling asleep. Improved sleep quality is directly correlated with better quality of life and a better sense of wellbeing.
#4 - Body Composition
It is no secret that exercise can help people lose weight and achieve a better overall body composition. A healthier body weight also improves circulation and helps to prevent disease. Improved body composition continues to lower the chance of chronic conditions such as high blood pressure, stroke, diabetes, early death, and many more. Increasing lean muscle mass and decreasing excess body fat also makes you look and feel a lot better in a swimsuit.
#5 - Longer Life
Combining all the above tips leads us to the conclusion that regular cardiovascular exercise causes a lower rate of chronic disease and better bodily function. These factors lead to a longer life and a higher quality of life. Performing the minimum recommended amount of cardio means that you can move around more, accomplish more, feel better, look better, and sleep better. All factors considered, 30 minutes of moderate activity on 5 days of the week does not sound too bad.
So, Move It or Lose It
As you just read above, regular cardiovascular exercise is an essential part of a healthy lifestyle. I hope this may have inspired at least one person to keep up their exercise routine or start exercising if they do not already. Thanks for reading, leave a like and comment if you enjoyed!
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