Cardio, short for cardiovascular exercise, is movement that gets your heart rate up and increases blood circulation. It is an integral component of any fitness plan. Some people love it, and some dread it. There are various methods and variations of cardio exercise, and an equal number of health benefits to it. Here, I’ll outline a few benefits that go beyond burning excess calories and fat loss.
Improves heart health: The heart muscle is like any other muscle in the body and requires exercise to help strengthen it. If you don’t work on it, over a period of time, it weakens. By getting your heart rate up and pumping on a regular basis, you keep it strong and healthy. If you get tired walking up a flight or two of stairs or are unable to walk fast even for a short length of time, please understand that you need to start exercising. Regular physical activity helps prevent a wide range of health issues and concerns including stroke, diabetes, depression, certain types of cancer, arthritis, etc
Increased metabolism: Cardio exercise also increases the efficiency of other processes in your body also known as metabolism. Increased metabolism will help you maintain your weight. An intense cardio session will definitely see an increased metabolic rate. Exercise also boosts energy increasing strength and endurance.
Improved hormonal profile: Exercise increases the feel-good hormones in your body which eases symptoms of depression and fatigue. People regularly on cardio workouts show less stress and anxiety. Need an emotional lift or want to just get out of a day gone bad from your system, half an hour of exercise will ensure that you feel much better.
Improved post exercise recovery ability: Those who go through a hard session at the gym can benefit immensely through a cardio session on the treadmill or elliptical, cycling or light jogging. Cardio brings more oxygen-rich blood to the muscle tissue and helps in the repairing and rebuilding process. Building muscle is a combination of overloading stimulus and then rest to allow the muscle to heal itself, but maintaining balance is the key and can be learnt from your trainer.
As a general guideline, please try and get 30 -45 minutes of exercise 3-5 times a week. If you have specific fitness goals, you will need to commit more time and effort. Always take clearance from your doctor before you start an exercise program if you are over 40 or have any health concerns.