In our fast-paced and sedentary lifestyles, it has become more important than ever to incorporating regular exercise. When it comes to physical activity, doing a cardio workout is generally considered a highly beneficial form of exercise for most individuals. Cardio workouts, also known as cardiovascular exercises or aerobic exercises, offer a wide range of benefits for overall health and well-being. Beyond the obvious advantages of weight management and improving cardiovascular health, cardio workout offers a plethora of benefits!
The science behind the benefits of cardio
Researchers discovered that engaging in up to 60 minutes of cardio exercise each day is safe and appropriate, especially if weight loss is your goal, according to a 2012 study that was published in the British Journal of Pharmacology. In another study, it was found that doing 30 minutes of cardio every day can do a lot for your mental health. It helps the brain release endorphins, which not only improve your sleep but also improve your mood and lessen stress. This, in turn, can help alleviate symptoms of depression and anxiety.
Health Shots reached out to Sonia Bakshi, a nutritionist and fitness expert at DtF (Dance to Fitness), to find out how doing cardio exercises on a daily basis can improve your overall well-being.
Bakshi says, “Exercises that involve deliberate, coordinated physical actions that raise your heart rate for an extended period of time are termed cardio. Your muscles require more blood and oxygen during aerobic or cardio exercise than they do at rest. Your heart and lungs have to work harder as a result, which over time may make them stronger. Not only this, but cardio helps to boost your overall health.”
Health benefits of cardio workout
Here are 9 health benefits of doing cardio workouts daily:
1. Strengthens your immune system
Regular practise of cardio exercises helps you reduce stress, sleep better and provide better blood and oxygen to your cells. These help to strengthen your immune system. It can also help in reducing the risk of certain chronic diseases and infections. Make sure you give your body time to heal by taking breaks from your usual exercise regimen.
2. Elevate mood
Cardio workouts stimulate the release of endorphins, a happiness hormone. This feel-good hormone enhances mood and reduces stress levels. Moreover, it can also be beneficial for mental health issues like depression and anxiety.
3. Weight loss
If you combine cardio with a balanced diet, you will undoubtedly lose weight. Cardio exercises are useful for burning calories and shedding pounds. Engage in activities including jogging, brisk walking, swimming and cycling. You are less likely to get diabetes, certain cancers, and heart disease if you maintain a healthy weight.
4. Increases energy
Consistent cardio training boost stamina and endurance levels in your body. It allows you to use oxygen more efficiently, delaying fatigue and enabling you to sustain physical activities for longer duration.
5. Protects brain
Cardio exercise can help protect your brain as well. Bakshi says, “Cardio promotes new brain cell growth and improves blood flow to the brain, enhancing memory and thinking abilities. It also protects your brain against developing Alzheimer’s disease.”
6. Healthy joints
Cardio workouts are the best kind of workout for people with bad knees because it causes less stress on your body. It helps fight osteoporosis and reduces your chances of a hip fracture.
7. Healthy skin
Cardio helps to increase blood circulation, which leads to clearer, healthier skin. When blood flows better to your cells, it helps reduce signs of ageing and improves your complexion.
8. Promotes lung health
A cardio workout stimulates the lungs, improving their capacity to take oxygen and distribute it throughout the body. It also reduces the risk of shortness of breath in chronic lung problems like asthma.
9. Improves digestion
Bakshi says, “The pancreas helps to convert the food you eat for energy while also helping digestion. Cardio helps to improve blood sugar control, decreases stress on the pancreas and reduces your chance of developing type 2 diabetes. It also helps to regulate your gut bacteria.”
Types of cardio exercises
The primary goal of a cardio workout is to challenge and strengthen your heart, lungs, and circulatory system. Here are some types of cardio exercises that you can perform to real all these health benefits:
- Running and jogging
- Jumping rope
- High-intensity interval training (HIIT)
- Aerobic dance classes
- Stair climbing
- Brisk walking
- Elliptical training
The intensity and duration of performing cardio exercises can vary depending on fitness level, goal, and preferences. It is important to choose activities you enjoy as a part of your fitness routine!