Cardio, short for cardiovascular exercise, is any movement that gets your heart rate up and increases blood circulation. For some it's a dreaded word and for others it's a passion they can't get enough of. Either way you look at it though, cardiovascular exercise is one of the key components that should never be left out of a fitness plan. There are a wide variety of health benefits you receive from a regular cardio program.
Improved Heart Health
The first one is an improved condition of your heart. Your heart is a muscle just like any other and in order for it to become strong it must be worked. If you fail to work it, it will weaken over time and this can cause a variety of negative health effects.
By getting the heart pumping at a faster rate on a regular basis you will keep it in shape and healthy. Too many people are getting winded just performing simple exercises such as walking up the stairs and the primary reason for this is because they are neglecting to work their heart muscle.
Another reason to perform cardio is for its effects on the metabolism. Along with speeding up your heart rate, cardiovascular exercise also increases the rate of various other processes in the body, also known as your metabolism.
Generally speaking, the more intense the cardio session, the more noticeable increase you will see with regards to your metabolic rate. Intense interval sprints (also known as HIIT) increase the metabolism. An increased metabolism means an easier time maintaining your weight (or losing weight as the case may be).
Improved Hormonal Profile
Performing cardiovascular exercise also changes the hormonal profile in your body considerably. It releases 'feel good' hormones that will help ease symptoms of depression and fatigue as well as releasing hormones that decrease the appetite.
Individuals who partake in regular cardio exercise often have a much more positive outlook on life simply because they are getting the stress-relief benefits from these hormones.
Improved Recovery Ability
Certain types of cardio exercise, usually lower, more moderately paced forms, can decrease your recovery time too. If you have just performed a hard session in the gym, hopping on the treadmill for a walk or light jog will help to remove some of the by-products that were created during the lifting session.
This will help to reduce yourmuscle soreness and help bring more oxygen rich blood to the muscle tissue improving in the repair and rebuilding process.
Take the Challenge!
This month we want to encourage you to step up your cardio game and get on the right track for a healthy lifestyle. Try the moves below and you could win a $50 iTunes or Google Play Gift Card! Here’s how to join in on the fun: Like or Share our post on Facebook --OR-- tag @totalwomangym in a photo of yourself doing the challenge on Instagram to be entered in the drawing!
Modify the above exercises as needed to suit your individual fitness level. Do multiple sets for further challenge, or break into smaller sets if needed as times increase. Go ahead and try that 30th day even though February only has 29 days!