Health Benefits Of Cardio Exercises

Health Benefits Of Cardio Exercises

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You probably hear the word ‘cardio’ from the moment you decide to exercise whether at home, gym or join some exercising program. Then you hear the term ‘aerobic’ exercise, ‘anaerobic’ exercise. Are those different types of exercises? What are they for? And things get even more complicated adding special purpose like weight loss, getting fit or just to be healthier.

In this article, we’ll talk about the definitions, meanings of those and related terms, and then establish what are the health benefits of cardio exercise.

Cardio exercise

“Cardio” is fitness slang for cardiovascular activity

Aerobic exercise is any type of cardiovascular conditioning. It can include activities like brisk walking, swimming, running, or cycling, and you know it as “cardio.”

By definition, aerobic exercise means “with oxygen.” Your breathing and heart rate will increase during aerobic activities. Aerobic exercise helps keep your heart, lungs, and circulatory system healthy.

So, cardio refers to any activity that increases heart rate and respiration while using large muscle groups repetitively and rhythmically. The root word “card,” or “heart,” provides a clue as to why this type of exercise is so important – by providing training that progressively challenges your most vital internal life support network, cardio can improve both the function and the performance of your heart, lungs and circulatory system.

On the other side “anaerobic exercises”, such as weightlifting or sprinting, involve quick bursts of energy. They’re performed at maximum effort for a short time. This is unlike aerobic exercises. You perform aerobic exercises for a sustained period of time. I won’t expand this subject in this article. I just wanted to clear things up, to briefly inform you what “anaerobic exercise” is and how it differs from aerobic exercise.cardio-exercise

Benefits of Cardio Exercise

  • Stronger Heart  – Teaches the heart to work more efficiently.
  • Lowers Blood Pressure and Cholesterol – As your heart beats faster it increases blood flow.  Blood vessels become more elastic when they are worked and small blood vessels widen to deliver more oxygen to your muscles.
  • Weight Loss – All exercise burns calories. With a deficit caloric intake, your body will burn fat and you will lose weight.
  • Strengthens Lungs – When we move our large muscles we breathe faster and more deeply this improves lung function.
  • Increased Bone Density – Weight-bearing aerobic exercise like walking helps to decrease the risk of osteoporosis.
  • Reduces Stress & Depression – When you exercise your body releases endorphins which are natural pain killers.
  • Better Sleep – We sleep better when our body is tired.
  • More Energy – You will increase your stamina and reduce your fatigue.  You may feel more exhausted when you first start an exercise program, but stick with it and your energy levels will increase.  You will be on your way to a more active lifestyle.
  • Reduces the Risk of Heart Disease – Being physically active is important in preventing heart disease
  • Strengthens Lungs – When we move our large muscles we breathe faster and more deeply this improves lung function.
  • Live Longer – Studies show that those who regularly exercise live longer than those who don’t.
  • Less Likely to Get Sick – Exercise activates your immune system.

Some of the Best Cardio Workouts

Walking – This is the easiest and safest way to start getting in your cardio.

Elliptical – Minimal impact on the knees and hips but calorie burning is still high.  When you increase the incline you will activate more muscles.

Running – Whether outdoors or on a treadmill

High-Intensity Interval Training – Short intervals at maximum intensity followed by short periods of rest.

Bike Riding or Cycling – Cycling uses large muscle groups in the legs and helps elevate your heart rate.  This one is great you can do it inside or outside.

Stair Climber – Uses more muscles than walking.

Jumping Rope –  Cheap, easy and burns tons of calories.

Swimming – This is a total body workout as long as you are not just floating. Swimming laps would be best and change up the strokes you use so that you work all different kinds of muscles and the continuous pace works your heart and lungs.

Rowing  – Works both the upper and lower body and is low stress on joints and ligaments.

Circuit Training – When you work out at a high intensity the blood starts to pump a lot harder and that challenges the elasticity of the arterial wall.

If you want to not only work your heart but want to build muscle continue with your exercise routine and add in some weights.

Choosing a Cardio Exercise

When choosing a cardio exercise think about what’s accessible to you, what fits your personality, and what you’d feel comfortable fitting into your life.

If you like to go outdoors, running, cycling, or walking are all good choices. Just about any activity will work, as long as it involves a movement that gets your heart rate into your heart rate zone. Walking is always an excellent choice. I’d like to recommend combining speed walking with shorter periods of walking at slower pace, then speed up again.

If you prefer going to the gym, you have access to many more options in the form of different machines.

For the home exercising, you can, of course, buy your own treadmill, elliptical trainer or indoor bike but there are other great options like:

  • Exercise videos
  • Fitness apps
  • Home cardio exercises like jumping rope, jumping jacks, jogging in place, burpees, and more
  • Online workouts

You have so many choices but, the trouble is, you may not even know what you like yet. You may have to try several different activities before you find one that works for you. This is the experiment we all have to take part in and it can be hit or miss so don’t be afraid to try something and, if it doesn’t work, move on to something else.

I hope this article was informative but not boring. Hopefully it helped you clear few things, and that you’ve learned something new.

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Thank you for reading this article. If you have any question, or want to leave a comment – impression, suggestion, your thoughts, experience… please do so in the comment section below, and I’ll be happy to help you out.

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