Over the years of being a Personal Trainer and online Coach I’ve had a love and hate, affair with cardiovascular training. I often see people running in Sefton Park Liverpool or along the Mersey River in South Manchester, with smiles on faces and people generally enjoying the run. For me, I can’t say I smile a great deal when running as I’m constantly pushing my limits and looking like a complete mess for the entirety of the training session. Although, this is the obvious hate side, there is also a big escapism within this and, quite a powerful therapeutic effect at the same time.
If you want to take a deeper dive and learn how to push yourself on a regular basis then take a look at this blog here.. Exercise vs Training
If you didn’t know already, cardiovascular training (or cardio) is a great way to burn extra calories, build endurance, and lose body fat and keep you lean & healthy.
But did you also know cardio has countless benefits for the heart and mind – both figuratively and literally?
Cardiovascular health and mental fitness are directly linked to activity levels, and doing more cardio has been proven to improve brain power, cognition, focus, and optimising your body for better performance throughout its systems and organs.
In this post, we’re going to talk about the 5 biggest benefits of cardio training (and how you should be going about starting your fitness journey with a cardio regime.)
Aerobic exercise does wonders for your heart health. The NHS recommends it to pretty much everyone regardless of age and gender, and they have pointed out it’s especially important for people who are at risk of heart disease.
That’s because aerobic exercise strengthens your heart and helps it become much more efficient at pumping blood throughout your body.
Another reason why cardio is so vital for heart health is that it leads to lower blood pressure, as well as raising “good” cholesterol and lowering “bad” cholesterol levels in the body.
Regular physical activity will help your body become better at regulating insulin levels and will lower your blood sugar. This helps you tremendously with weight management and keeping weight off once you lose it.
Any movement can have these effects, but they’re more pronounced in sustained aerobic activities such as sports, running, high intensity interval training (HIIT), and more.
Regular to moderate aerobic training can increase certain antibodies in the blood, also known as immunoglobulins. They ultimately lead to the strengthening of your immune system.
This was proven by research done at Pennsylvania State University highlighting the efficacy of exercise on immune function. To geek out on the research you can read the study here… Impact of exercise on immunological health and lifespan
Scientists have long known that aerobic exercise slows down the natural loss of brain tissue that occurs after the age of 30, as well as helping you improve cognitive performance.
This was proven by MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) studies done decades ago – the adults who are more aerobically fit display fewer reductions in the parietal, temporal, and frontal areas of the brain and had more robust brain tissue.
One study done on individuals with chronic depression showed us that after 10 days of running on a treadmill for 30 minutes a day, all participants showed significant reductions in their symptoms of depression. Benefits of aerobic exercise in patients with major depression
That’s big! And it’s not like you need those 10 days to see improvement. Engaging in exercise, even after a short period of time, has massive impacts on your mood and energy. Even one single aerobic training session can lead you to experience better mood, more energy, and improved focus and cognition. Your mental health mental health and cognitive function matters so spend time reading the study.
What does this mean for you?
It means that whether you’re looking to lose weight and gain lean muscle or whether you’re just looking to stay healthy and live longer, cardio is the key.
With a list of benefits that keeps getting longer and longer with each research, it’s safe to say aerobic exercise is a vital part of a healthy lifestyle plan, and it’s something everyone should be tuning in to.
How do I get started with cardio?
If you’re looking to learn how cardio can help you look better, feel better, and burn a ton of fat while you’re at it… and how you can create the perfect home workout routine:
[Further reading: How to Use Fitness to Achieve a High-performance Mind, Body, and Life.]
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