Almost every well-balanced fitness programme has some kind of cardiovascular exercise (cardio) worked into it. The reality is, cardio is essential for your physical health.
What is cardio?
Cardio is when you do rhythmic exercises that raise your heart rate to where you burn the most fat and calories.
Cardio can include biking, swimming and running.
This elevation of heart rate and your cardiovascular system has many physical benefits:
Improves your heart
Your heart is just like any other muscle in your body. When you make it work harder than it normally would, you are training it. And, just like other muscles, training your heart makes it stronger and more efficient.
By increasing your heart’s efficiency, it doesn’t have to work as hard to pump blood through your body. It also pumps more blood and oxygen to your muscles and organs, which increases your physical performance.
Cardio also prevents cholesterol build-up. Cholesterol can cause strokes and heart attacks. It also combats arterial and other heart diseases.
Cardio also helps to maintain a healthy respiratory system. Your lungs are also muscles. By training them, you can also make them stronger and more efficient.
By training your lungs, they create more alveoli, which absorb oxygen. Your lungs are able to process oxygen, put it in your body, and send it around your body faster. More oxygen makes it easier for your body to perform physical exercises.
Increases mental health
Cardio helps to reduce depression, stress and anxiety.
This type of exercise stimulates your brain to produce more neurochemicals like dopamine, endocannabinoids and serotonin. These chemicals work together to produce sensations of happiness, elation, relaxation and pain relief.
Cardio can increase the efficiency of your metabolism and helps you burn calories. Your body breaks down calories into energy to fuel your exercise. When your calories are burned, your body will turn to your fat reserves for energy. This is what makes you lose weight.
By increasing the efficiency of your metabolism, you are able to burn more calories and fat. It also helps your body to continue burning calories long after you have finished exercising.
Improves cognitive function
Cardio also increases the amount of blood flow, oxygen and nutrients that get delivered to your brain. This causes the brain to create more neurons.
Neurons are cells that send and receive sensory signals that dictate how you react to changing environments, as well as your thought process. The increased number of neurons creates more electrical impulses, which means you can react, process thought and solve problems faster.
Cardio can also help improve your memory and fights off memory-related conditions like Alzheimer’s. The conditions’ effects on your memory can be slowed down with exercise.
By doing cardiovascular exercises, you are increasing your body’s cardiovascular system functionality. It is able to pump more blood, oxygen and nutrients through your body, which increases the rest of your body’s performance. From physical health to mental health to immune health and bone health, the right cardiovascular exercise programme is basically a miracle cure.
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