Aerobic exercise, also known as Cardio, is a low intense physical exercise which is very effective and hence very popular. `It depends on the aerobic energy generating process which refers to the use of oxygen to meet the energy demands of the body during exercise. It is also called cardio because of the frequent use of the cardiovascular muscles during these exercises. Some of the popular cardio exercises are running, swimming, kickboxing and rowing. All gyms have workout machines like treadmills and VFX to emulate cardio exercises like walking, running and elliptical training. It is commonly perceived that exercise is for people who want to build and maintain their bodies. However, this is a wrong notion as exercise is purely for one’s health and to relax one’s mind. Here are 10 awesome things that cardio helps you do.
10. Maintain proper weight
In this over competitive world, how much ever we deny it, good looks and good body figure mean everything. If you are either too fat or too thin, you are ridiculed. When someone wants to create a first impression, they have to model their body properly, because at first glance, no one can see your good personality or character, but can only see your face and your body. Combined with a healthy and steady diet, cardio can help you lose weight and make you look more fit and healthy than before. If done over a long period of time and consistently, cardio can help keep the excess pounds at bay. This doesn’t mean that one has to buy a treadmill or sign up at a nearby gym. All that is required is a morning jog, a few kilometers of walking and an occasional swim.
9. Increase stamina
At the outset, you might feel that exercise makes someone tired. But if seen on a long term basis, you will have increased your stamina and reduced your fatigue level. During cardio, the speed of your breath intake increases as you will require more oxygen and thus your heart rate speeds up to increase the amount of oxygen in your bloodstream. Stamina is very important if you are going to continue cardio exercises on a long term basis. Regular exercise makes your heart, lungs and blood vessels more effective and faster at transporting oxygen all parts of the body. Just like you can take heavier weights as muscles in your arm become sturdier, repeated cardio strengthens your heart and lungs and moderates your fatigue level and allows you to gradually increase the length of your exercise sessions.
8. Reduce health problems
Aerobic exercise decreases the risk of many health conditions like obesity, heart disease, high blood pressure, type-2 diabetes, stroke and some types of cancer. Cardio exercises like walking and running can reduce the risk of osteoporosis. If you have had a heart attack before, frequent cardio exercise can help reduce chance of another attack. According to a study by the Investigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science, people who run 1.2 to 2.5 miles a day have a 19 percent lower risk of developing age-related muscular degeneration. Regular exercise can also decrease cataract risk. Women who either did moderate exercise for 2.5 hours a week or rigorous workout for 75 minutes a week reduced their chances of getting breast cancer, said a study by Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise. Exercise helps you lead a healthy life and reduces your health problems considerably.
7. Overcome cravings
While doing continuous workout and keeping a strict diet to maintain your body, it is very difficult to keep a distance from foods like chocolate. Many people give in to these cravings and thus end up messing up their balanced diet. However, it is a well-known fact that cardio helps keep a tab on these cravings. In a study published in the Journal Appetite, people who took a 15 minute walk everyday decreased their cravings for food like chocolate. Another popular craving is ice cream and people on a steady healthy diet must stay away from it. Studies show that cardio exercises like swimming reduce the craving for ice cream. Just make sure you don’t run by a chocolate shop or swim in a pool that has an attached ice cream shop.
6. Increase body metabolism
Cardio has great positive effect on body metabolism. Cardiovascular exercise increases the rate of various processes in the body, which are collectively known as your metabolism and it also helps to quicken your heart rate. Studies say that the more intense the cardio session, the more the increase in your metabolic rate. Intensive interval sprints (also known as HIIT) increase the metabolism. The highest increase is obtained with a process called EPOC (Excess Post-exercise Oxygen Consumption). It easier to both lose and maintain your weight with increased metabolism. Cardio also helps to improve your hormonal profile.
5. Quit smoking
If you want to quit smoking than an effective method is doing cardio exercises. It may sound weird and unheard of, but cardio exercise is a method used by many to quit the cancer sticks. Research shows that 10 to 15 minute sessions of aerobic exercise triggers changes within the brain that help defuse nicotine cravings in smokers. Also, a separate study found that cardio can also make smoking related images less likely to grab the attention of the smokers. What usually happens with smokers who commit to cardio training is that their desire for lighting up becomes diminished. The urge to have a cigarette becomes less frequent. Cardio exercise is often the cure for the smoking habit. But even if you continue smoking, don’t ever believe that cardio workouts won’t do you any good.
4. Keep viral infections away
Everyone is prone to viral infections. It gets very irritating when a small viral fever spoils all our plans for the day. Why fear when cardio is here. Continuous aerobic exercise helps to build your immune system. This leaves you less vulnerable to viral infections like common cold or flu. These infections can take the toll out of you and disrupts your diet and exercise routine. Also the medicines that you take will mess your sleep timings and thus your schedule. Constant cardio exercise reduces the risk of these viral infections and keeps you healthy and fit every day.
3. Boost your mood
All of us get cranky at some point. In a world where even Iron Man can have an anxiety attack, everyone is bound to have it. However, Cardio exercises are known mood boosters. Swimming and walking combined with some music can do you a world of good, if you are having an incredibly tough day. These exercises are known to ease the gloominess of depression, reduce the tension associated with anxiety and promote relaxation. During exercise, the body releases endorphins and this allows the body to cool the tension down. Cardio allows body and mind to work together to solve both physical and mental problems. Boosting you mood is one of the most useful benefits of aerobic exercise. It is a well-known fact that a good friend can always lift your mood. Well, if you can’t find one, then cardio exercise is your new best friend.
2. Stay active
Staying active every day is very important. Cardio exercise is not all about the body. Apart from its physical benefits, it helps to keep you mentally healthy as well. It helps to focus on work and to be productive. Studies show that regular cardio exercises can keep you active for the length of an entire day. It is why early morning jogs and walks are advised. Though for the first few days it may drain your energy, it keeps you fresh and active when continued on a daily basis. It is also recommended for older people so that they can try to stay as active as possible and battle old age with ease. Aerobic exercise also helps you keep your mind sharp. Running, jogging and walking are the exercise that are generally used for keeping yourself active.
1. Live longer
Everyone wants to live a longer life. But simply hoping for it isn’t enough. You have to keep your mind and body healthy enough to last for more years. This is where cardio is very useful. Studies show that people who do cardio exercises regularly live longer than those who don’t. Dr. Steven Blair from the Institute for Aerobics research says that people who walk close to 30 minutes a day reduce the risk of premature death considerably. Three 30-minute aerobic sessions can slow cognitive decline in elderly people, according to the Mayo Clinic. Cardio doesn’t simply make you live longer. It allows you to live longer with a better quality of life. And after all, isn’t that what everybody wants to do? Live.