Cardio (cardiovascular exercise) is one of those things that you either hate it or your love it. A quick definition of cardio is any exercise which raises your heart rate and increases your blood circulation. For myself, I love doing cardio. It is as fun for me as lifting weights. But for many people, they just can’t stand doing it. The big reason most people do cardio is to burn calories in order to shed the pounds. However, there are numerous benefits to performing cardio that we should keep in mind – particularly if you are not a fan of cardio.
First off, cardio helps to improve your heart health. The heart is a muscle and cardio is the way to work it out. Many people cannot run 1 mile let alone climb a set of stairs without being short of breath. Performing cardio on a regular basis will strengthen your heart, thus making it easier to do simple tasks such as climbing stairs without becoming winded.
Cardio Makes You Feel Good
I’ve felt the “runner’s high” before after a good run. Cardiovascular exercise releases hormones that make you feel good. This is one of the reasons that exercise is such a great stress reliever. Not only that, but I feel energized for the rest of the day after a good cardio session.
Increased Metabolism and Weight Loss
Cardio is a great way to lose weight and keep it off. Regular cardio will increase your metabolism making it possible to lose weight or maintain a healthy one. HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) is a good way to achieve this.
Reduce Risk of Heart Disease
Heart disease risk increases with being overweight, smoking, high-cholesterol, and lack of exercise. Heart disease can affect adults of all ages and getting in a few cardio sessions per week can help reduce the risk.
How much cardio a person should do varies from who you get your advice from. Some experts recommend 20 minutes at about 3 – 4 times per week while others say 30 – 45 minutes at 3 – 5 times per week. I think doing at least 20 minutes a few times per week is an excellent start.