We all know that exercise is good for us, but there are many types of exercise and knowing which is best for you can be very difficult. However, there is one type of exercise that everybody needs and that is a workout that gets the heart working harder. But just what are the benefits of daily cardio sessions?
Cardio is short for cardiovascular and basically means any activity or movement that increases your heart rate and the circulation of your blood. For many, it is a form of exercise that is key for burning excess calories and thereby losing weight, but this is not the only reason why a daily workout is a great idea.
The first benefit is that you will enjoy improved heart health. The heart is a muscle and needs to be worked out just like any other muscle in your body to become strong. Not working your heart will lead to it weakening, until just climbing a flight of stairs will leave you out of breath.
The second benefit is an increased metabolism. The more you work at your cardiovascular system, the more your metabolism will increase and this will make it easier for you to maintain your ideal weight, or indeed, lose any excess weight you may be carrying.
The third benefit is that given to your mood. Any type of exercise, but cardio in particular, releases certain ‘feel good’ hormones in your brain and these hormones help to combat depression, irritability and fatigue. Some of these hormones also act as an appetite suppressant, so it is less likely that you will comfort eat, thereby helping to keep you excess pounds off.
The fourth benefit is that of being able to recover from injury faster. This is especially important if you are a very sporty person and engage in a number of sports where you may become injured, such as suffering a sprained ankle or pulled ligament. Moderate forms of a heart pumping exercise performed after an intensive training session or gym time will reduce what is known as a delayed onset of muscle soreness or DOMS, and will also deliver oxygen-rich blood to your muscle tissue, thereby speeding up the time and quality of their recovery, all of which means you can get back to your gym or sport that much quicker.
The fifth benefit may only appeal to a certain number of people, but if you are a diabetic, then cardio sessions can help you to manage your condition by increasing your body’s muscle ability to make use of the glucose present. Many diabetics who perform regular cardio exercises have noticed that they do not experience as many blood sugar dips and swings as they used to.
So how do you get the most out of this type of exercise? Ideally, to really improve your overall health, you should be looking to engage in a minimum of 30 minutes’ cardiovascular exercise every day. Now, this may sound like a big commitment, but this exercise can be something as simple as walking or jogging, or even playing a game of basketball, indeed, any activity that makes you breathe a little harder. You need to be comfortable when working out, so make sure you wear appropriate clothing. There are lots of comfortable yet attractive workout clothes for women around, like those found in the Tommie Copper collection.
Choose an exercise that appeals to you and fits in with your lifestyle. Walking, for example, can be achieved during your commute to and from work or by walking the dog a little further than normal. Walking will improve the strength of your leg muscles, lower your blood pressure and lower the risk of many health conditions, such as heart disease, bowel cancer and osteoporosis. For similar benefits but a more intensive session, try jogging, but just be aware that this is a high-impact exercise, so if you are new to exercise, start off with walking and work up to jogging. Another convenient form of cardio exercise is to cycle. This could be achieved by ditching the car and cycling to work or using an exercise bike. With cycling, you will improve your leg strength and tone your legs and buttocks, with the advantage that you will not be putting as much stress on your joints.
Swap your sofa for the streets at the end of a long day and engage in just 30 minutes of cardiovascular exercise to get your heart pumping and improve your overall health.