5 Benefits of a Cardio Workout: When looking to lose weight, you may have been told that you need to increase your cardio. What exactly is cardio? Cardio is short for cardiovascular, which is a term used to reference the entire circulatory system. When told to ‘increase cardio’, it simply means to perform exercises that will increase your heart rate and improve the circulatory system. Aside from weight loss, there is actually a long list of benefits that can be derived from performing cardiovascular exercises. Below are the top 5 benefits that you can obtaing:
1. Improved Heart Health: Your heart is a muscle, and just like any other muscle in your body, it can benefit from exercise. It can weaken over time if not given a regular workout and can eventually fail as a result. By performing cardiovascular exercises, increasing your heart rate for at least 30 minutes or more at a stretch, you can strengthen the heart and help protect yourself against heart related illness.
2. Improved Brain Function: Researchers at Boston University performed studies to determine if heart health had any effect on brain health. Their study showed that individuals with weak hearts due to insufficient physical activity had less brain volume than individuals with strong hearts. A weak heart is unable to pump blood efficiently, therefore lessening the amount of oxygen that gets carried to the brain. An oxygen depleted brain ages much more quickly and can contribute to concentration issues and memory loss.
3. Improved Sleep: Roughly half of the world’s population suffers from a sleep disorder of some sort. As a result of this, more and more prescriptions are being written every year to aid those in falling asleep and staying asleep. Recently, studies have shown that obese individuals who routinely take sleep medication have a higher risk of death. A study published by The National Sleep Foundation found that individuals who performed cardiovascular exercises 3 to 4 times per week, fell asleep 54% faster and slept 37% longer than individuals who did not exercise.
4. Increased Bone Density: Osteoporosis is a condition that affects many aging women as a result of lost bone mass. Studies have shown that when cardiovascular exercises are performed several times per week, for at least 30 minutes at a time, bone density can increase by as much as 12% over a period of 6 months.
5. Alleviates Depression: A study that was published in the Archives of Internal Medicine was conducted on 156 individuals who had been diagnosed with clinical depression to determine of exercise had any effect on their emotional status. One third of the group followed a cardio exercise program, one third took antidepressants and the other third followed an exercise program, but also took antidepressants.
The study concluded that exercise works better at alleviating depression than medication after a 16 week period, and was even more effective than those who exercised while on antidepressants. In short, increasing your amount of cardio and improve your overall health not only helps you to lose excess weight, but also boosts your mood, strengthens your heart and improves your overall health. Performing cardio exercises 30 minutes per day, 3 to 4 times per week is enough to reap the benefits and provide you with noticeable results.