Are you starting a new workout routine in the new year? Are you wondering about the benefits of cardio?
Cardio is a word workout junkies like to throw around. It brings to mind hard-driving running and cycling that has exercisers sweating raindrops and reaching for their towels and energy drinks.
Yet what is cardio, and how can it benefit you?
What is Cardio?
Cardio exercise is designed to get your heart rate up and keep it there for a period of time. It causes your respiratory system to work harder and your blood vessels to expand in order to bring more oxygen to your muscles.
If you’re new to a daily workout, your cardio time can simply mean walking briskly or jumping rope for a couple of minutes. If you’re a member of a local gym, an elliptical machine can help you work out while putting less stress on your joints and allowing you to go at your own pace.
Your body will thank you when you begin a regular cardio routine, as cardio health benefits are endless.
1. Weight Loss
Cardio is a great way to lose weight because it adds to your overall deficit of calories. This means you won’t have to cut more calories from your diet as long as you don’t overcompensate by eating more. Cardio can also accelerate the rate at which you burn calories, which can speed up your metabolism.
Weight loss is about so much more than getting your clothes to fit better. It can lower your risk of certain types of cancers, prevent type 2 diabetes, and even help you sleep better. Cardio exercise combined with a healthy diet can lead to weight loss that will improve your life in many ways.
2. Better Heart Health
Cardio exercise can improve your circulation, which leads to lower blood pressure and heart rate.
For maximum results, aim to work out for at least thirty minutes each day for five days each week. Any active workout like running, walking, swimming, or cycling counts. Try to choose an exercise type that you really enjoy so you’ll be motivated to integrate it into your routine regularly.
3. Lower Your Triglycerides
Triglycerides are a type of fat found in your blood. When you eat, your body will turn any calories it isn’t going to use right away into triglycerides.
It’s healthy to have a certain amount of triglycerides in your body to keep your energy levels up. Too many triglycerides, however, can increase your risk of heart disease.
Cardio exercise is particularly helpful for lowering the levels of triglycerides in your body. It also helps to eat a lower-carb diet and eat more fiber.
4. Raise Your Good Cholesterol
A moderate amount of physical exercise can also help to raise your levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL,) also known as “good” cholesterol. This type can help absorb good cholesterol and carry it back to your liver, which will flush it from your body. Having high levels of HDL can actually decrease your risk of heart disease or stroke.
5. Improve Your Mood
If you suffer from anxiety or depression, regular cardio exercise can help alleviate your symptoms. It releases endorphins, which can improve your mood and overall sense of well-being. Exercise can also release neurotransmitters like serotonin, which may be low in depressed people.
Even small amounts of physical activity can elevate your mood and make you happier. If you’re looking to get fit and feel good, consider making cardio a regular part of your routine.
6. Lower Stress Levels
It’s easy to get stressed out in a world where there are a number of pressures. But high-stress levels that go unmanaged for a long period of time could lead to health problems such as heart disease, obesity, and diabetes.
Exercise can decrease your stress levels and increase your sense of well-being. This can help you to get sick less often and get along better with those you love.
7. Improved Sleep
Exercise can help improve your sleep quality and duration. It reduces your stress levels and makes you tired.
Better sleep quality can improve your life in many ways. It can improve your immune system, strengthen your heart, and improve your productivity. Sleeping well can also increase your exercise performance and improve your memory.
8. Better Skin
Believe it or not, exercise can help nourish your skin cells as well. This is because it increases blood flow, which carries oxygen to cells throughout your body, including your skin. Accelerating your blood flow can also help remove waste products, such as free radicals, from your working cells.
9. Improved Cognitive Function
Exercise improves the amount of oxygen and nutrients that get pumped around your body. Your brain is one of the places it goes.
Exercise can actually cause your brain to fire more neurons, which are the cells in your body that fire and receive signals. Increased neuron-firing can lead to better thought processes and problem-solving skills. It can also improve your memory.
If you want to improve your mental as well as physical health, a reasonable amount of cardio exercise may be just the thing to add to your daily routine.
The Many Benefits of Cardio
The benefits of cardio extend far beyond losing a few pounds. All of your organs, including your heart, brain, and skin, will benefit from a daily walk or trip to the gym. Your mood, sleep, and productivity will all thank you for starting a cardio program in the new year.
Don’t stop getting smart about your workout now. For a great spot to start your cardio routine, join us today!