Cardio and Why It’s Important
All healthcare experts will agree that being physically active is crucial to keeping your body healthy. It helps your body function at a high level by improving cardiovascular health and muscle strength. Fortunately, individuals have a myriad of options to choose from to keep them active, and all provide countless health benefits, both physical and mental. One of the easiest and most popular forms of exercise is cardio.
Throughout human history, people have been running. Whether for survival or sport, running has persisted throughout. However, running is far from the only form of cardio. From running and jogging to swimming and biking, you can choose from several cardio options. Regardless of the type of cardio you do, the benefits that this physical activity provide you are exceptional.
Physical activity is vital to your overall health, and cardio plays a big role. Even if you prefer lifting weights, you should include cardio because it offers benefits that weightlifting cannot match. At Fitness Nation, we offer our members plenty of different cardio options to choose from, whether from our state-of-the-art equipment or one of our many classes. If you’re ready to start working towards your fitness goals, sign up with us today.
What is Cardio?
Cardio is short for cardiovascular exercise. These exercises work to improve your endurance by increasing your heart rate and breathing rate. It also boosts your blood circulation. The goal is to engage in a moderately intense physical activity that raises your heart rate into the zone where you will burn the most fat and calories. While some forms of cardio are better at burning fat than others, they are all an excellent way of burning calories while improving cardiovascular health.
Cardio is an excellent way to stay active and keep your body healthy. Most people are aware of this, but many do not grasp the scope of the benefits cardio offers them. After all, it doesn’t just help you burn calories and lose weight. It has plenty to offer you. While some exercises do more in certain areas than others, all cardio exercises can improve your health and life in multiple ways.
Helps with Weight Loss.
Cardio workouts burn more calories than lifting weights and other workouts. Furthermore, cardio also boosts your metabolism. While these exercises increase your heart rate, they also increase other processes in your body, such as your metabolism.
Improves Cardiovascular Health.
Many people forget that your heart is a muscle, and like all muscles, it requires exercise. If you don’t work it, it will weaken much quicker over time. Getting your heart pumping at faster rates on a regular basis keeps it in shape and healthy, reducing the risk of heart disease. Cardio helps lower your blood pressure by reducing the levels of bad cholesterol and raising levels of good cholesterol. This will eventually lower your resting heart rate because your heart pumps blood more efficiently.
Improves Mental Health.
Like most exercises, cardio is also great for your mental health. When you engage in cardio of any kind, your body releases endorphins, the body’s feel-good chemical. Your body releases these chemicals during and after your exercise, reducing muscle tension and stress. Additionally, one study on individuals with depression found that after ten days of walking on a treadmill for 30-minute intervals, they reported a significant reduction in their depression symptoms.
Strengthens Your Immune System
Cardio increases your heart rate, which causes your blood vessels to widen. As your blood vessels expand, white blood cells can flow better throughout your bloodstream. White blood cells are what protect your body against viruses, bacteria, and other infections. A study conducted by researchers at Pennsylvania State University found that women who did regular moderate aerobic exercise had more antibodies in their bloodstream compared to those who were sedentary.
Boosts Brain Power
Even your brain can reap the benefits of cardio. As you age, specific organs begin to weaken and lose tissue. Your brain happens to be one such organ. However, research has discovered that aerobic exercise can slow tissue loss while improving your cognitive functions. The research showed that adults who were most fit showed fewer reductions in specific areas of their brains. Their brain tissue was healthier, as well. Cardio also improves memory.
If you struggle with sleep, whether falling asleep or remaining asleep, engaging in cardiovascular exercise throughout the day may improve your sleep. Individuals who engage in regular physical activity experience better sleep quality and sleep for much longer. It also improves how awake they feel throughout the day, as well as gives them a boost in energy.
Types of Cardio
As we mentioned earlier, you can choose between countless types of cardio. You do not have to stick to running if you don’t enjoy it or if you have bad joints. Your chances of finding an exercise that you enjoy and fits your fitness level and overall health are high. Some of the most popular types include:
- Walking or power walking
- Jump rope
- Stairs or stair climber
- Elliptical machines
- High-intensity interval training
As you can see, your options for cardio exercises are vast. Many of these are cost-effective and can be down at home or around your neighborhood. Options, such as ellipticals, stair climbers, row machines, and more, can be found at a gym. Not only does Fitness Nation have many cardio machines, but we also offer many classes that focus on different types of cardio exercises. Fitness Nation is here to help you with all of your fitness needs.