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Why We Love Cardio

With warm weather comes warm weather clothing. By now you may have gotten your body into “summer” mode with a great workout plan and a healthy diet. However, if you’re not quite there yet, don’t worry! The best way to shed weight and look and feel great is a great cardio workout regimen. The first step is to find out just how cardio works to help lose weight.

We all know that to lose weight you must follow the simple equation calories in < calories out. However, this “simple” equation is often easier stated than followed. Cardiovascular exercises are considered aerobic because they get your heart pumping and your lungs sucking wind. Aerobic exercises increase the rate at which the heart and lungs are working. Aerobic exercises increase caloric expenditure quickly and are great for burning fat.

So what do get out of doing cardiovascular exercises? Besides a sweaty T-shirt and the list of health benefits (reduced risk of heart disease, improved blood cholesterol and triglyceride levels, improved heart function, reduced risk of osteoporosis and improved muscle mass), cardio gives you a healthy heart and a lower number on the scale, cardio also gives you a slimmer stomach, and some killer quads. And in addition to the physical fitness and health benefits, cardio has a major effect on your mood. Good exercise causes your brain to release endorphins, which almost instantly improve your mood and mental well-being. (In fact, some psychologists are now having their clients walk on a treadmill or ride a stationary bike while discussing anxiety and depression because of all the positive benefits of exercise and the release of endorphins!)

It is so easy to incorporate cardio exercises into your daily routine. Walking, running, swimming, and biking are just a few different varieties of good cardio exercises. The key is to find a cardio exercise you enjoy so doing it doesn’t feel like a workout.

So now that you’ve figured out an exercise that will be fun for you, there are other reasons to love doing cardio…like how easy it is to add intensity to your routine. Run faster, jump higher, climb hills or add new cardio activities to your routine that your body isn’t used to. Increasing intensity will increase your heart rate, enhancing the results of your cardio workout.

Another great thing about cardio is you can do it every day of the week and can be done virtually anywhere. When strength training, your muscles require rest to recover and grow stronger. You can go for a walk or ride your bike everyday without having to worry about overtraining or reversing all the progress you’ve made. You can hit up the gym for a good run on the treadmill or run around the neighborhood a few times if you’d like.

Cardio is such a versatile and effective type of exercise. Find something you enjoy doing and marvel at the improvements you feel both physically and mentally!