Benefits of Cardio Exercise
Cardio is an abbreviation of cardiovascular exercise and is a term used for any form of activity that increases your heart rate and blood circulation. There are many benefits of cardio exercise.
For some people cardio brings up visions of torturous 2 hour runs through muddy fields, whereas for others it’s a passionate way of life. Whatever your point of view, cardio exercise should be a key focal point of any fitness regime. Luckily there are multiple methods and forms of performing cardiovascular exercise, each with their own benefits.
For the majority of people cardio is a means to burn off excess calories. Regular cardio sessions will result in an increased ability to lose fat which is determined by the amount of calories an individual burns versus the amount of calories consumed. In addition to this you’ll be pleased to hear that cardio exercise benefits your health in ways other than simply fat loss. Let’s take a look at the benefits of cardio in more detail.
• Improved Heart Health
The heart is one of the most important organs of your body. Your heart acts as a muscle, constantly pumping blood around the body and like any other muscle, strengthening it will enhance its performance. By neglecting your heart you run the risk of experiencing some serious adverse health effects. Raising your heart rate through cardio exercise is a great way to keep it healthy.
• Increased Metabolism
Another benefit of regular cardio exercise is its effects on your metabolism. Along with speeding up your heart rate, cardiovascular exercise increases other natural processes in the body, including your resting metabolic rate. Surprisingly you can achieve the best results in this regard through short sessions of intense interval training (known as HIIT) as opposed to longer slower paced cardio sessions. A faster rate of metabolism will result in your body’s increased ability to burn excess body fat.
• Hormonal Benefits
Performance of frequent cardiovascular exercise will result in gradual beneficial changes to your hormonal profile. Exercise stimulates the release of feel good endorphin hormones, which can help to ease symptoms of fatigue and depression. It also aids in the stimulation of leptin which helps to decrease feelings of hunger. Partaking in cardio exercise can lead to a much more positive outlook on life, as you will experience lower levels of stress due to these hormonal changes.
• Rapid Recovery
We’ve touched upon the benefits of intense interval training, however when it comes to recovery, slower paced forms of cardio are far superior in this respect. For example after a hard session at the gym, it is advisable to perform a short bout of light cardiovascular exercise in order to cool down and reduce muscular tension. Making this a regular part of your gym routine will result in a reduction in delayed onset of muscle soreness (DOMS), improving your blood circulation helping to speed up the muscle repair and rebuilding process. This means faster recovery in between periods of exercise.
• Improved Brain Function
A report published by Harvard Health Publications found that regular cardiovascular exercises can improve your brain health . Researchers observed that heart rate raising, sweaty aerobic exercise increased the size of the hippocampus. This area of the brain is associated with learning and memory.