Why Cardio is Important to Your Health
When you hear the word cardio, what comes to mind? Images of people running endlessly or sweating-it-up in a step class? Do these images have you running the opposite way? We tend to believe that if we are not working up a sweat, we are not working hard enough.
The truth is, it is a lot more difficult to reach your fitness goals or improve your overall health if you are not getting regular cardiovascular exercise. When we say cardio, what we mean is any activity that gets your heart rate up and keeps it there for a prolonged period of time, ideally, 20-30 minutes each day. Brisk walking, Zumba, swimming, heavy cleaning, gardening, cycling, and yes, running—are all great ways to get your heart rate up.
Why do we want to get our heart rate up? Well, lots of reasons, not the least of which includes a bevy of physical and mental benefits. Let’s start with the physical benefits. Regular cardio exercise helps speed up our metabolism which improves our body mass and helps us maintain our ideal weight. It helps control blood pressure, strengthens the immune system, helps reduce bad cholesterol and increases good cholesterol. It strengthens the heart and lungs which helps prevent certain cardiovascular diseases. Truly, the benefits of regularly getting your heart rate up are endless.
Let’s take a look at other reasons to get moving, like how cardio improves our emotional well-being and impacts our psychological health. It helps keep depression and anxiety at bay. It decreases our stress, helps our sleep, and gives our brain a boost. Regularly engaging in cardiovascular exercise is a boon to our levels of personal satisfaction and wellness in ways that help us feel so much better all around.
So going forward, consider making cardio a regular part of your health routine. Focus on maximizing your workout, to include 20-30 minutes of cardio.