Updated: Jun 5
Everyone talks about cardio, so let's discuss the real benefits of cardio workouts. Doing a cardio workout means you exercise hard enough to get your heart beating faster, which pumps oxygenated blood from the lungs around your body to deliver oxygen to the muscle.
You need to be able to work hard enough to break into a sweat, increase your heart rate but still be able to hold a conversation. By exercising regularly your cardiovascular system will adapt and your heart and lungs will become stronger. You will eventually be able to exercise for a longer duration with great long-term health benefits.
These are some of the benefits of cardio workouts you should expect to see if you train regularly following the American College of Sports Medicines recommendations:
Benefits of Cardio Workouts
• Become aerobically fitter – able to work at higher intensity or train for longer
• Get stronger - your muscles will become stronger and it will take them longer to fatigue
• You will feel more energised
• Greater stamina
• Reduced resting heart rate
• You will be able to cope better with everyday stress
• It will help lift your mood
• Improve sleep
• Improve general health and well-being
• Protective benefits against cardiovascular disease and certain cancers
• Helps reduce blood pressure and improved blood cholesterol levels
• Increases metabolism, burns fat and helps with weight maintenance
The American College of Sports Medicine recommendations are:
Moderate intensity cardio workouts 30 minutes a day, five days per week or vigorous-intensity cardio 20 minutes a day for 3 days per week.
Include strength training exercises at least twice per week.
It should be noted that to lose weight or maintain weight loss, 60 to 90 minutes of physical activity may be necessary with the necessary nutritional guidance.
The 30-minute cardio workout recommendation is for the average healthy adult to maintain health and reduce the risk for chronic disease.
How to get started:
• Start with a fitness plan and set your goals.
• You can start slow and increase the number of days of cardio. Once you are able to achieve this, eventually aiming for the recommendation as above.
• You can set weekly goals and update them as you become fitter.
• Set a weekly schedule, so it fits in around your normal routine, for example cycling to work and going for a run at lunchtime. You are more likely to stick to it if cardio workouts become routine.
• You can start with walking, cycling, running, or an exercise or dance class, swimming or playing sports, make sure it’s an activity you enjoy.
• Mix up the activities so you don’t get bored.
• The strength sessions can be done with free weights, resistance bands and resistance machines if you have access to a gym.
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