We're all aware that exercising releases endorphins into the blood stream. Those are the "happy chemicals" that improve your mood. Exercise also helps to lower your pain threshold and promotes a healthy gut. When planning your exercise routine, you should always include cardio as part of your workout.
Here are seven reasons you should always incorporate it into any exercise routine:
1. It's great for losing weight
A cardio workout can give you great results when trying to burn those calories. To lose weight, you need to ensure you are burning more calories than you are taking in. Doing cardio allows you to increase your heart rate enough to start burning them.
It is also quick and very effective. Those looking to lose weight at a healthy rate should always been aiming for cardio. Cardio also burns fat and builds up muscle. This means you are at risk of losing physical fitness by avoiding it.
Cardio will also help you keep the fat off when you aren't exercising, as it improves your metabolic rate. You are much more likely to keep the weight off long term if this is your goal. What could be better than that?
2. Cardio lowers stress levels and boosts brain power
Cardio is excellent for those who suffer from anxiety or depression. After all, a healthy heart equals a healthy brain. But it has been proven that those who do cardio three times a week perform much better mentally than those who don't. Cardio boosts self-esteem and lowers your risk of depression. Setting yourself goals and achieving them through exercise gives you a sense of achievement and improves your confidence.
In addition to this, you'll benefit from your hard work later on in life. Getting fit now will improve your mental health and keep you healthier for longer. So the next time you're feeling stressed and need a bit of peace from the busy life you lead, take some time to go for a walk or run. You'll feel much more relaxed and able to perform better after.
3. Cardio gives you a good break from your other routines
If you're like me, you get bored very easily. Having a variety of different workout routines, for example, classes, weights, etc. leads to less boredom in the gym and your body gets what it needs.
Having additional cardio sessions not only allows you to switch up your routine, it gives your body a break from other activities. In addition to this, you are preventing the risk of burn out, whilst keeping yourself engaged.
For example, for those who bike (or run), you could change your route or go to a different location altogether. You could try barefoot running if you want to add a twist to running. You'll get to see more of your local city, or get to see somewhere completely different. It'll help bring the fun back for you if you are struggling to keep motivated.
Why not rope in your family and friends too? You are much more likely to succeed in your goals with peers and helps keep you all happy and healthy. Group exercise works wonders for keeping you motivated.
4. The choice is yours; chose cardio workouts that suit you
Whether you run, bike or walk, you will always be able to find fun cardio workouts wherever you are. For example, why not create your own bespoke workout routine? You don't need to spend a huge amount of money doing expensive classes when you can create your own.
Doing a variety of different cardio exercises allows you to focus on specific areas of your body. You'll be more likely to succeed because of this.
5. Cardio workouts are highly efficient
A common myth to cardio is that you have to spend hours and hours at the gym to get effective results. You really don't. In fact, shorter, more intense cardio workouts have been proven to provide the same, if not better, results. There's nothing worse than reaching that point where you start to get bored. Spending hours at the gym will only hinder you and lower your motivation.
6. You can do cardio anywhere
Just because you have that gym membership, doesn't mean you have to stay indoors. Why not take your cardio workout outside? Now the weather is getting nicer, what could be better than a sweaty smelly gym?
Not only will it be great to be in the fresh air, you can pretty much do any workout outside. You will still see great results, have a nice change of scenery and not to mention fresh air and sunshine.
7. You don't need special equipment for cardio
The great thing about cardio exercise is that you don't need specialist equipment to do it. While running on a treadmill or elliptical is great for indoor workouts, running on the pavement is just fine as well.
The only thing you really need to invest in is a decent pair of trainers. Once you have these, you can get started straight away. You don't even need to sign up for classes either if you're just getting started.