Regular cardiovascular activity such as walking, swimming, hiking, or biking can help improve the quality of your life. In recent years, there has been a decline in the popularity of cardio exercise, but if whole fitness is what you crave, it's time to drop the weights for a while and get involved in some serious sweat sessions.
How the body responds to cardio
Most cardio exercises involve large muscle groups and whole systems of the body. As a result, your body is more engaged, and you breathe deeply and sweat a little more than you would with a weight lifting session.
Your cardiovascular system and respiratory system benefit from the increased flow of oxygen and blood flooding muscle and tissue, and your body becomes an efficient detoxification machine as the increased circulation aids in eliminating toxins from the body.
As an added benefit, the rigorous nature of cardio sessions makes it easier for your body to release endorphins. These are the "feel good" hormones that are released when you engage in physical activity. These natural pain killers are a powerful self-esteem booster, making you feel good for hours after your workout.
How does cardio benefit me?
There are a variety of ways in which even moderate, steady-state cardio can benefit your physical and mental health.
- Cardio exercise burns a lot of calories. Just a few regularly scheduled sessions per week aid in the elimination of extra fat and pounds that would otherwise hang on for dear life.
- Cardio exercise improves your stamina and overall strength. Increased lung capacity benefits all of your systems, as the increased oxygen flowing through your system makes everything work more efficiently. You will experience increased strength and vitality after a cardio workout.
- Cardio exercise improves immune system efficiency. Your immune system booster will help to ward off colds, flu, and viruses that you might otherwise be susceptible to.
- Cardio exercise reduces health risks like obesity, heart disease, and diabetes. High blood pressure and stroke are kept at bay as a result of some contact time with your treadmill.
- Cardio exercise helps to manage chronic conditions. Chronic pain is lessened with regular cardiovascular exercise, and it can lower blood pressure and blood sugar in people with hypertension and diabetes. Exercise in general can improve flexibility, mobility, and quality of life for all patients, provided that they can commit to moving a little each day. It is difficult to find a condition that is not positively impacted through cardio exercise.
- Cardio exercise strengthens the heart and clears arteries. Your strong heart will pump and circulate blood more efficiently throughout your body, improving health and strength. The combination of exchanging "bad" cholesterol for "good" cholesterol means less buildup in the arteries for you, lowered risk of heart disease, and better health overall.
- Cardio exercise will improve your mood. It can ease gloomy depressive feelings, reduce tension and anxiety, and promote healthy sleep. All three work in tandem to improve your overall mental health.
- Cardio exercise will extend your good years! Studies show consistently that people who regularly engage in aerobic exercise live longer and experience better quality of life than people who do not exercise. They also have an increased resistance to disease and chronic conditions that rob us of our health.
The evidence is clear: time to suit up!
If you haven't engaged in cardio exercise for a while, start small. Consistency is more important than marathons sessions that leave you exhausted for days afterward. Investing time in yourself and your health is important. One of the most critical components to the creation of a quality life is physical activity. Remember that slow and steady wins the race; you can do it!