Cardiovascular, or cardio, exercises are among the most raved about physical activities. They’re highly valued and recommended by fitness experts and enthusiasts alike and make essential component of almost every comprehensive workout routine. For those who don’t know what all the buzz is about or what exactly these physical activities have to offer, here we are highlighting are some of the health benefits of cardiovascular exercises:
What Qualifies As a Cardiovascular Exercise?
Any form of physical activity that increases your heart rate, to moderate to high level, and keeps it high for a prolonged period of time is classified as a cardiovascular exercise. Running, cycling, swimming, rope jumping, and dancing are some of the most common cardio exercises.
Health and fitness experts recommend performing 150 minutes of moderate or 75 minutes of high-intensity cardio exercises in a week to get the maximum benefits.
1. They’re Great for Weight Loss
One of the most common reasons why people resort to physical activity is because they want to lose weight. If you also want to shed some pounds, cardio exercises are your best bet.
Cardiovascular exercises burn more calories than you lose through weight-training[i]. A cardio workout also enhances your metabolism and offers a high afterburn effect (excess post-exercise oxygen consumption or EPOC). This means you will continue to burn calories and fat even after you’re done exercising.
When paired with the right diet, cardio exercises are the best tools for weight loss and maintenance.
2. They Help Improve Heart Health and Functioning
Cardio exercises create a positive impact on how your heart pumps blood. They improve blood circulation, which means your heart doesn’t have to work hard to get the blood pumped to all around the body. This in turn will reduce your resting heart rate and blood pressure.
In addition to improving the functioning of heart, cardiovascular exercises are also great for strengthening heart muscles. Just like with all other muscles of your body, exercises that work your heart muscles make them stronger. And cardio exercises are the best to get your heart muscles into action.
3. Cardio Helps Improve Lungs’ Health
As cardio exercises increase your breathing rate, they make your respiratory system work harder, which in the long run helps improve your lungs’ health and functioning. Regularly performing cardiovascular exercises enables your lungs to process inhaled air faster and pump the oxygen more efficiently into the blood. This, together with a healthy circulatory system (which is also an advantage of cardio), ensures that the muscles all over your body receive adequate amount of oxygen.
Healthier lungs also increase your ability or strength to be physically active, creating a healthy cycle.
4. Cardio Can Also Help Improve Mental Health
Ever heard of the runner’s high? The euphoric feeling that many athletes and fitness junkies are addicted to is created by the release of endocannabinoids into the blood, providing similar effects as you experience after taking CBD. You feel less anxious and stressed, experience an improvement in your mood, and sleep better. Together, all these factors help improve your mental health.
5. They Improve Your Skin Health
Cardiovascular exercises are best for improving blood flow to the skin. Increased blood flow means your skin receive more oxygen and nutrients, which help nourish skin cells and keep them healthy and well-functioning. Increased blood flow also helps with removing toxins from the skin cells. As a result, your skin becomes healthier and more glowing, over time.
These are only some of the benefits of cardiovascular exercises; they have a lot more to offer. Start incorporating cardio exercises into your workout routine for getting and staying healthy!