Cardio. For some reason, one word sparks a lot of trepidation and fear into the minds of those getting into exercise. Maybe it’s bad memories of being forced to run the mile in gym class. Maybe it’s the thought of getting your heart rate up and being sweaty. Whatever it may be, cardio is an essential part of every workout routine.
Admittedly, some new timers focus too much on cardio and miss out on the benefits of other forms of exercise such as weight training. However, being so scared of cardio that we never do it is equally as detrimental. Below are some of the amazing benefits we see from incorporating cardio into our workout routines at least 2-3 times per week.
Lowers Blood Pressure
According to a 2015 study1, cardio is key to treating and preventing high blood pressure. High blood pressure is a prime culprit for heart attacks, strokes, aneurysms, and even dementia. The research found that cardio exercise resulted in a decrease in both systolic and diastolic blood pressure. Consistent cardio can also lower cholesterol and dramatically reduces your risk of heart disease. Just like lifting weights trains your muscles, cardio trains your heart to more efficiently pump blood throughout your body.
Strengthens Immune System
According to a 2020 study2, regular exercise (particularly cardio) does wonders for the immune system. Cardio workouts keep your blood cells and cytokines healthy. Both of these are the primary regulators of your immune system. Though the jury is still out on research involving exercises defense against Covid-19 and cancer, current research points in the direction that suggests that exercise can be a preventative measure for both.
Contributes to Healthy Weight Loss
This might seem obvious, but cardio paired with a calorie deficit is a healthy way to lose weight or maintain a healthy weight. There are several ways to lose weight. However, not all of them are healthy. Cardio helps us naturally shed the pounds. It might be a slow steady road but slow and steady wins the race in this case. Those who lose weight slowly using a slight calorie deficit and consistent exercise such as cardio are more likely to keep the pounds off than fad dieters and sporadic exercisers.
So next time you think of skipping cardio, or if you’re just starting to get into the world of exercise and you’re trying to find any way out of it, consider the amazing benefits that come from including cardio in your exercise routine. There are so many ways to get cardio in besides running on a treadmill. Many of them are detailed in the “Workouts” and “Video on Demand” sections of the Allwell App, and even some of the more intense Yoga exercises in “Mindfulness” will speed up your heart rate enough to constitute cardio.
Aside from that – get creative! Jump rope, swimming, even dancing are all great forms of cardio. When you make it an activity you enjoy, you might just forget you’re even exercising!
1 Hegde & Solomon, 2016 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4624627
2 Sitlinger, Brander, & Bartlett, https://ashpublications.org/bloodadvances/article/4/8/1801/454550/Impact-of-exercise-on-the-immune-system-and 2020