Cardiovascular exercise is important for everyone. The good news is that anyone can do it, no matter what fitness level you’re at.
Cardiovascular exercises, simply known as cardio, are those exercises which improve our endurance and increase both our heart rate and our breathing rate. Performing cardio raises our cardiorespiratory endurance so we’re able to burn more calories as we boost our metabolism and strengthen the heart and lungs.
The idea is to exert ourselves to the point where we almost get out of breath. In fact, a cardio workout is successful if you cannot say more than three to five words at a time. If you can talk normally, you are not working out hard enough.
There are plenty of ways to do cardio: walking, jogging, aerobics, cycling, running, swimming and rowing are just a handful of examples. Which is the best? It’s a trick question — the answer is, whatever you enjoy the most! If you choose an activity that you really enjoy, you’ll feel more motivated and will be more committed to the work.
Doing regular cardio will bring you many health benefits, like these:
- It will boost your energy and endurance.
- It helps you lose weight. A cardio routine makes us burn several calories and speeds up our metabolism.
- It sheds body fat. Cardio exercises improve our body mass index (BMI) as it reduces the amount of body fat.
- It helps control blood pressure by improving the circulation of blood throughout our bodies.
- It strengthens our immune system. When our heart rate increases, blood vessels widen and allow better flow of white blood cells, the agents in charge of fighting against viruses and infections.
- It helps control cholesterol levels. Cardio exercises help lower “bad” cholesterol and increase “good” cholesterol.
- It helps maintain normal sugar levels, which helps prevent type 2 diabetes.
- It may help prevent some cardiovascular diseases and high blood pressure.
- It reduces asthma symptoms. Aerobic exercise can help people with asthma lessen both the frequency and severity of asthma attacks, but you should still talk to your doctor before beginning a new exercise routine if you have asthma.
- It reduces chronic pain.If you have chronic back pain, low-impact activities like swimming or aqua aerobics may help you get back muscle function and endurance. Exercise can also help you lose weight, which may further reduce chronic back pain.
- It helps with your sleep. If you’re having trouble sleeping at night, try cardiovascular exercise during your waking hours. Exercising too close to bedtime may make it more difficult to sleep, however. Try to finish your workout at least two hours before bedtime.
Mike Gartz is a personal trainer who owns I Hate My Trainer at 117 E. Reynolds St. Plant City.