When we think of cardio training, we often only consider weight loss and heart health, there are so many more benefits that come with it! The American Council on Exercise recommends a minimum of 175 minutes of moderate cardiovascular exercise a week or 30 minutes 5 days a week. This may seem scary at first but something as simple as a brisk walk or swimming counts! If you don’t have the time or capacity to do 30 minutes at once, break this down into 3 10-minute sessions!
Keeps your bones strong
Any kind of weight bearing activity, including cardio, puts stress on the bones which in turn releases osteoblast – these are responsible for repair and growth of bones. Overtime this results in stronger bones and a decreased risk of developing osteoporosis as you age.
Keeps your heart strong
The heart is a muscle, the harder you work it the stronger it will become. As the heart gets stronger resting heart rate goes down and max heart rate goes up – the heart doesn’t have to work as hard at rest as well as helps to push more blood and oxygen out at one time.
Keeps your lungs healthy
Just like the heart, our lungs and muscle of respiration; need to be strengthened. Participating in regular cardiovascular exercise will help to strengthen your lungs, allowing more oxygen to be taken into the blood at once.
Decreased risk of disease
Regular cardio can help lower blood pressure, lowering the risk of heart disease and hypertension. Participating in cardio activities a minimum of 3 times a week for at least 30 minutes will increases the amount of HDl (good cholesterol) circulating in the blood, this can decrease LDL (bad cholesterol) levels lowering your risk of heart attack and stroke.
Exercise can help to reduce stress. Blood pressure generally spikes when we are stressed, cardio can help to lower blood pressure as well as release “feel good” hormones known as serotonin and dopamine which help to lower stress and make us happier.
Better quality sleep
Studies show those who exercise regularly, including cardio, tend to have better quality sleep and feel more rested compared to those who don’t participate in physical activity.
Increased brain function
Exercise increases brain function by releasing BDNF (brain-derived neurotrophic function), a substance that results in brain cell growth and an increase in cognitive function. This can help to increase job performance, mood, motivation, and attention.
People often find diets are hard to stick to, cardio is a great option to add in daily to burn some extra calories to help maintain a healthy weight.