Okay, so we all know cardio is good for us. Whether it’s going for a run or attending a step aerobics class, any form of exercise that increases your heart rate is extremely beneficial. But what exactly does cardio do to the body and mind and why should we be doing it? Keep reading to find out the benefits of regular cardio, and what it can do to improve your overall health and wellbeing.
Cardio Burns Calories and Fat
Beginning your workout with some cardio definitely boosts your energy and state of mind, and sets you up for a great session. Cardio is great if you’re looking to lose some weight because it burns a whole lot of calories! The simple biology behind it is that the fat tissue you burn when you exercise is converted into energy. If you engage in regular cardio (say, going for a run every day), your body will begin to burn fat very efficiently, and your workouts will become more effective.
Cardio Tones the Muscles
As you’re running (or swimming, or rowing, or whatever cardio you prefer to do), the fat you’re burning is slowly disappearing to reveal the muscle underneath. Although cardio doesn’t necessarily contribute a great deal to building your muscles (strength resistance is best for this), it helps improve the appearance of them, and condition them for exercise!
Cardio Helps Improve Overall Heart and Lung Health
It does wonders for the cardiovascular system (go figure)! When you exercise, the muscles you are engaging require more oxygen, so the heart and lungs have to put some serious work in. While the lungs have to efficiently supply oxygen to the blood, the heart has to work harder to transport oxygenated blood around the body. In time, both organs are strengthened, and overall health improves as a result.
It Can Help Reduce Symptoms of Stress and Anxiety
Arguably one of the most important benefits of regular cardio is its ability to lessen the symptoms of stress and anxiety. When you exercise, your body releases chemicals called endorphins (sometimes known as ‘the happy hormone’). Believe it or not, these wondrous little chemicals help reduce our perception of pain and allow us to experience feelings of euphoria. Plus, you get a great sense of achievement when you finish a cardio session, which makes you feel motivated and ready for the rest of the day.
Cardio Can Help With Your Sleep Pattern
It can definitely come in handy if you’re looking to fix an irregular sleep pattern and has even been proven to help tackle insomnia. Regular exercise can drastically improve the quality and duration of your sleep. Because exercise uses energy and leaves you tired out, your body engages in deeper sleep, for a longer amount of time. Basically, go for a jog if you’re having trouble getting your forty winks!