It is known that exercise is good for the body. There are many ways to exercise depending on the intended result. For example, strength training and cardio.
Cardio, or cardiovascular exercise, is any form of repetitive activity that has the effect of increasing the heart rate. These activities can be vigorous or moderate. Some classic examples of cardiovascular exercise are swimming, running, brisk walking and cycling. Even some forms of household work, for example, mopping, can qualify as cardio exercise.
Why Do Cardio?
Engaging in regular bouts of cardio activity not only has dramatic impacts on fitness but also plays a role in improving overall health and well-being.
1. It expands Lung Capacity
Cardio exercise relies on the body’s ability to use oxygen efficiently during work-out. As the heart rate increases, the muscles work harder and the body needs more oxygen, which requires faster, deeper breathing. This in turn helps to strengthen the lungs as they work to supply the body’s increased demands for oxygen.
2. It Strengthens the Heart
Most health professionals, including Emergency Medicine Specialist, Dr. Benjamin Cory Harow, will tell their patients that consistent cardio exercise is important to maintain a healthy heart. Similar to other muscles, the heart becomes stronger and more resilient during exercise as it becomes better able to pump more oxygen-rich blood around the body per beat than normal. This also means that the resting heart rate decreases, improving heart health. Making the heart more efficient is said to reduce the risk of getting a heart attack and therefore potentially reducing the chances of a visit to the emergency room with heart-related complications.
3. Promotes Weight-Loss
Muscle cells require a great deal of energy, which is because they burn large amounts of calories, even when not exercising. This means that the time spent doing cardio increases the number of calories the body burns and over time results in weight-loss. Doctors, and other health professionals, generally recommend that people exercise for at least 30 minutes a day three or more days a week to achieve this and other benefits.
4. Improves Mental Health
The body naturally produces hormones while exercising. Examples of these hormones are serotonin, dopamine and endorphins. The constant release of these and other hormones results in a boost in confidence, energy and enhances the ability to positively deal with difficulties, thereby lowering stress and reducing the potential for conditions such as depression and insomnia.
5. Improves Brain Function
Benjamin Cory Harow also wants to point out that cardio increases the amount of blood and oxygen supplied to the brain. This leads to better focus as the brain functions much more efficiently. Additionally, exercise promotes the development of new brain cells which improves learning and memory.
Another positive effect of exercise on the brain is that it improves the quality of sleep.
6. Stops or Slows the Development of Diabetes
Research has proven that regular cardio exercise, in combination with strength training, lowers the chances of developing type 2 diabetes. This form of the disease results from a build-up of sugar in the blood as the body becomes resistant to insulin, the hormone responsible for transporting sugar from the blood into cells for energy or storage. Exercise allows the muscles to use glycogen more efficiently, thereby reducing the build-up of sugar in the blood by approximately 50 percent.
In short, there are many advantages to engaging in regular cardio exercise. Aside from the advantages listed above, cardio exercise can save money and time by cutting down on the number of visits to the doctor or emergency room and the amount that is spent on prescription drugs. Since it improves overall well-being and health, it could also prolong one’s life.