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Learn to Love Cardio: A Quick Guide to A Healthier Lifestyle

Updated on April 14, 2015

Benefits of Doing Cardiovascular Exercise

  • Helps you lose weight
  • Strengthens your lungs and heart
  • Increases your bone density making them healthier and stronger
  • Stress relief
  • Reduces risk of heart diseases and various types of cancers
  • Can reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety
  • Boosts confidence in your body image
  • Sleep better, have more energy and set a great example for those around you!


Simple Tips to Help You Fall in Love with Cardio

Despite all the known benefits of exercise, there is one type that many people love to hate: cardiovascular exercise, or “cardio” for short.

Cardio conjures images of endless jogging on a treadmill or spandex-clad bodies bouncing to pop music. It can be intimidating to start and even tougher to stay committed to regular cardio exercise. Because cardio is so beneficial, it is worth exploring some of the common reasons people shy away from it, and how those objections can be overcome.

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For The beginner that wants to lose weight and get healthy, but is unsure how to start:

Cardio activity can be adapted to the abilities and goals of every individual. One way to jumpstart a heart-healthy lifestyle is to participate in group activities. Walking with friends or joining a class is a great way to add accountability to a fitness plan.

The social aspects of group exercise are strong psychological motivators to stay on track. For those who avoid cardio because of aching backs, knees or other joints, low-impact activities like water aerobics, bike riding and swimming are good options.

Cardio benefits can be derived from a huge variety of activities, like: tennis, skiing, basketball, dancing, roller skating and martial arts. When engaged in cardio activities for at least 30 minutes, several times per week, health quickly begins to improve.

Lamest Excuses Not to do Cardio

  • My favorite TV show is on
  • I'm too sore
  • I'm too tired
  • I'll do it tomorrow
  • I didn't get enough sleep
  • I lift weights
  • I'm on my feet all day

For The exerciser that focuses solely on strength training:

Strength training alone cannot provide overall fitness, and it works best when combined with cardio activity.

Cardio maximizes the results of muscle building, and increased muscle in turn boosts metabolism and fat-burning. People who weight train in a health club often hate the thought of climbing on a boring treadmill or elliptical machine for cardio exercise.

There is no need to limit cardio to just two machines. Incorporating sessions on the rowing machine, stair climber or stationary bike can provide variety and beneficial aerobic training.

Furthermore, there are many cardio exercises that require minimal or no equipment. Skipping rope, step-ups, mountain climbers and burpees are all challenging, heart-rate raising exercises. By rotating intervals of cardio exercise with weight sets and recovery sets, a well-rounded workout can be achieved.

A Simple Way to Start Running That Won't Kill You

Time Amount
5 Minutes/Day
15 Minutes/Day
30 Minutes/Day
45 Minutes/Day

For The person who doesn’t think exercise is needed because he or she is not overweight:

Often, people who are naturally slim and not prone to weight gain can assume that exercise is unnecessary. The benefits of cardio go far beyond shedding pounds, because of their unique impact on our vital organs. "Cardiovascular exercise is any type of exercise that increases the work of the heart and lungs," says Tommy Boone, PhD, a founding member of the American Society of Exercise Physiologists.

The unique advantages of cardio exercise include: improved heart and lung function, lower blood pressure, lower cholesterol levels, increased fat burning, reduced stress and even better sleep. Additionally, research from the American Heart Association has shown that cardio activity can dramatically reduce risk factors for many chronic diseases, and it is linked to lower mortality rates in those who regularly engage in it

The benefits of cardio can be measured

Perhaps the most potent motivator for cardio is getting immediate feedback on just how much it can improve fitness.

Because cardio exercises the heart, a heart rate watch can show how the body is responding to the training load over time. Just as larger weights demonstrate increased muscle strength, the heart rate can indicate when an optimal fat-burning zone is reached during a workout.

Anyone wishing to do focused, efficient cardio exercise should consider investing in a quality heart rate monitor. It is not only a measurement tool, but also a training partner and coach.

Cardiovascular fitness is a journey, not a destination. This category of exercise truly has something to offer everyone. With its huge variety, accessibility and measurability, the cardio workout can be a solid foundation for health and wellness.


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