Today we are going to talk about cardio exercises and why is cardio important?
From a health point of view, cardiorespiratory activities are very important for physical health and well-being. It can help you lose weight, reduce stress, boosts immunity, and decrease the risk of certain diseases.
There are a few buzz words that are basically synonyms with cardio/cardiorespiratory activities:
- Cardiovascular activity
- Cardiopulmonary activity
- Aerobic exercise
When you exercise aerobically:
- You repeatedly contract large muscle groups, such as your legs and arms
- You increase your breathing rate and your heart rate
Read more: Types of aerobic exercises
Why is cardio important?
Endurance exercise can benefit the body in many healthy ways. Following are the short- and long-term benefits of exercising regularly.
Short-Term Benefits of Cardio:
Many people start a physical activity program because of its long-term benefits; however, it is the short-term benefits that keep them motivated to continue the habit.
Relaxes & Revitalizes
Exercising reduces mental tension and muscular tension and increases concentration and energy levels. Regular aerobic exercise releases endorphins.
Endorphins- These are the proteins produced in your brain. They serve as your body’s natural painkiller. Endorphins also reduce stress, depression, and anxiety.
Offers a break from daily life & stress
Physical activity can be enjoyable and can provide a release from daily stress and boredom.
Helps you feel good
Physical activity can improve your self-esteem and self-confidence which will make you feel good about yourself.
Long-Term Benefits of Cardio:
Decrease risk of heart diseases
The leading health threat today is cardiovascular disease, which includes heart attack, stroke, hypertension, coronary artery disease, and congestive heart failure.
Daily cardio exercise helps to:
- Prevent plaque buildup in arteries
- Protect arteries
- Makes clots less likely
- Promotes new coronary arteries
Decrease risk of cancer
Physical activity increases circulation and respiration which accelerates the movement of food through the bowels, improves energy metabolism and immunity. All of these may protect against most types of cancer.
Lowers blood pressure
Exercise protects you from heart diseases in many ways. Individuals who are less active are more likely to develop hypertension. Chronic hypertension increases the risk of congestive heart failure and can lead to heart disease, brain hemorrhage, kidney failure, and damage to other organs.
You may feel tired and get fatigued just after the activity. But over the long term, it will increase your stamina and reduce fatigue.
Reduce body fat
Exercise can help in weight loss. About 70% of the energy burned every day is taken up by bodily functions; the remaining 30% depends on our level of activity, so exercise makes a difference.
For obese people, exercise is an integral part of their weight-loss program. The most effective way to lose weight is to increase your level of activity and cut on calories consumed.
In comparing diet or exercise alone, cutting calories leads to faster weight loss. Because you need to burn 3,500 calories to lose a single pound, it may take a few weeks of regular exercise to do so. However, when you consume 500 fewer calories a day, it will result in the loss of a pound a week.
If you only cut down calories, you are likely to regain the lost weight. That is because your body reacts to weight loss as if it were starving and, slows its metabolism. When your metabolism slows, you burn fewer calories. Increasing your physical activity will counter the metabolic slowdown caused by reducing calories.
Exercise increases your energy expenditure not only when you are exercising, but also while resting. The weight which is lost by increasing activity level consists almost entirely of fat.
Improves muscular health
Aerobic exercise helps to stimulate the growth of blood vessels and capillaries in the muscles, providing for more oxygen delivery to the muscles and helping to remove metabolic waste such as lactic acid. This can reduce pain in those who have fibromyalgia and chronic back pain.
Reduce the risk of sick days
Studies found that people who exercise regularly are less prone to viral infections, such as colds or flu. It is due to improved immunity.
Decrease the chance of premature death
Studies show that physical activity irrespective of intensity is associated with a lower risk of premature death.
Decrease cholesterol & triglyceride levels
High blood cholesterol and high level of triglyceride increase the risk of heart disease. Regular exercise increases the level of good cholesterol(HDL), which may help clear blood vessels. It also lowers the level of bad cholesterol(LDL).
Decrease the risk of diabetes
Untreated diabetes can lead to blindness, kidney disease, and the loss of limbs. It is the major factor in heart disease and stroke.
Every cell of the body needs sugar as a source of energy. Insulin hormone helps the cells to extract sugar from the blood. When you have diabetes, your body is unable to make or use insulin efficiently, so you have excess sugar in your blood.
Exercise lowers the blood glucose level and boosts the body’s sensitivity to insulin. This help to control existing diabetes and can also stave off the onset of type 2 diabetes.
Decrease risk of osteoporosis
Weight-bearing exercise stimulates the growth of new bone tissue. When weight is put on a bone, it responds by becoming more stronger and denser.
Any exercise that works against gravity can make your bone build-up. Examples of such activities include running, walking, weight lifting, and stair climbing. But activities such as swimming or biking, which are not weight-bearing, do not build bone.
Higher-impact activities (e.g., strength training) have a greater effect on bone than lower-impact activities (e.g., walking).
Decrease arthritic symptoms
Overuse of joints can increase the chances of arthritis. But regular moderate activity does not raise the risk for arthritis. Instead, exercise (aerobic or resistance) actually helps to reduce joint swelling and also relieves pain. When joints are not used, the cartilage becomes thin and soft, making the joint more prone to arthritis. Exercise can also control weight. Being overweight and obese increases the risk of developing arthritis.
Cardio exercises have a lot of benefits, short-term as well as long-term.
Must include cardio in your workout routine, no matter what your fitness goal is.
So, have you done cardio today?