Cardio, some of us love it, some of us hate it, but most of us do it at least in some form. So, what exactly is cardio? Why do we do it, why is it good for us and how important is it?
In this post, we'll explore these questions discussing what cardio exercise is and what it does for us.
What exactly is cardiovascular exercise?
Cardio, as it’s commonly known is any exercise that raises your heart rate. Our bodies were made to move and this movement increases our heart rate, improving oxygen consumption by the body. Cardio isn't just for losing or maintaining weight, but for building endurance so you can remain active for longer periods of time.
Why do we do cardio?
We do cardio for many different reasons, weight loss being a big one, but when we think about it, we feel better after we've exercised (even a little bit) as opposed to sitting all day. Common reasons for cardio are appearance based, losing or maintaining weight, toning up exc. but there are a ton of health benefits that go beyond physical appearances.
Beyond looking good then, why is cardiovascular exercise good for us?
It’s good for the heart and if done consistently and moderately, reduces the risk of heart disease. Cardio, actually does a lot for your heart; improved cholesterol and triglyceride levels, reduced risk of osteoporosis (which is the loss of bone density) and improved function and muscle mass. It’s a great stress reliever and mood booster, increases energy levels and improves sleep.
Cardio is definitely good for us, but how important is it? Do we need it everyday, what if we only do it here or there?
The answer, like many things is moderation and balance. Believe it or not there is such a thing as too much cardio and there are some pretty serious consequences too. Doing intense cardio everyday, especially running leads to joint damage among other things. In the short term, it can mean shin splints, sprained ankles and tendonitis. Yikes! Long term concerns include arthritis, damaged joints, heart damage and a lowered immune system. So, while all those extra runs are great for burning calories, giving it a rest and mixing up your cardio routine is best for your overall health. To save yourself in the long run, moderate cardio for thirty minutes every other day is more than enough to keep you healthy. Cardio isn't just running either, biking, walking, rowing, even a group fitness class will do the trick. Mixing things up with your cardio is a great way to give your body rest and maybe even have fun while you do it!
Cardiovascular exercise is a good thing and it doesn’t have to be the same thing everyday or
even intense to keep you healthy. You don’t have to kill yourself doing it and actually as we learned, that’s not good for you at all! Cardio is important, so don’t forget about it all together, but if you go a few days without it, it’s not the end of the world. The most important thing is taking care of yourself and doing what feels best for you!