Cardio exercises are considered to be an integral part of any fitness regimen. Discover how cardio exercises affect certain parts of your body in this article. In general, cardio pertains to any workout that increases your heart rate up and improves the circulation of your blood. Running, cycling, swimming, dancing, and even cross-country skiing are considered as some of the many types of cardio workout. Cardio is highly recommended by fitness experts not only for its fat-burning mechanisms, but also for the benefits that it rewards to overall physical and mental well-being. This is the reason why doing cardio should never be neglected in your fitness plan.
Cardio is known to stimulate the different parts of the body. Aside from that, it also produces positive effects in your mental health, as the mechanisms of the various workouts can help develop cognitive thinking. Experts report that cardio can also help in reducing psychological complications such as depression and anxiety, among others. This is because the body releases endorphin, or the feel-good, happy hormones.
One of the most benefited part of your body when doing cardio is your heart. Just like any muscle, working out the heart makes it even stronger. When doing cardio, your heart will have an increased pumping rate. By consistently working it out, you are strengthening your heart’s muscle. This means that it has improved in its capacity to deliver blood to the rest of your body, which also makes it beneficial to the arteries. Now, you won’t be panting any longer when you are walking up the stairs. Aside from the improved blood circulation, cardio also increases the production of high-density lipoprotein and reduces the low-density lipoprotein. The better production of “good” cholesterols over the “bad” cholesterols helps prevent clogging of the arteries.
With the better intake of oxygen through the lungs and the improved delivery of oxygen to different parts of the body, cardio also improves the efficiency of the various functions of your system. Because of this, your body will benefit from better metabolic rate. Cardio exercises of intense nature, such as performing High Intensity Interval Training, are found to increase the body’s metabolism. Aside from that, intense cardio sessions also impact the afterburn process known as excess post-exercise oxygen consumptions. This means that your body will still have increased metabolism for up to 48 hours after doing cardio.
Cardio is known to be the fastest form of workout to make use of the glycogen stores in the body, making cardio exercise ideal for fat loss . During the first part of your workout, you will be getting your energy from these stores. When it depletes, your body will turn to your stored fats to continue fueling your succeeding physical activity. With consistent and prolonged cardio, you will be able to influence your fat loss, along with proper nutrition. You do have to keep in mind that for this benefit to take effect, you should do fed cardio instead of the fasted option.
Cardio also helps in improving your hormonal profile by increasing the production of endorphin, cortisol and serotonin in your body. These hormones help in preventing depression, anxiety and fatigue. Individuals who regularly do cardio are found to be more positive and stress-free as an effect of these hormones.
Cardio is also beneficial for your muscles and joints. When you are partaking in weightlifting and other muscle-building training, you need a lot of recovery time in order to repair and achieve maximum muscle gains. When you are doing these activities, your body produces by-products that lead to muscle soreness. Through cardio, you can prevent the delayed onset of muscle soreness as the improved intake of oxygen in the blood helps in the faster repair and rebuilding process of the muscle tissues. You may not notice the mechanisms in your body, but if you can observe, you will have faster recovery time when you do cardio a few hours after your lifting sessions.
And this process does not stop in recovery. When you are gaining muscle mass and strength, you need to provide your muscles with the appropriate environment for stimulation, rest and healing. The combination of both weightlifting and cardio helps in these aspects to achieve faster muscle development. However, you should also see to it that your cardio does not add to the muscle strain, as this can only lead to breakdown, rather than recovery.
Cardio also helps in managing your blood sugar levels. Through cardio exercises, your body will be able to utilize your glucose levels compared to being sedentary. People with diabetes will surely benefit from it as the workout can help in managing the extreme changes in blood sugar levels that normally happens when someone has this condition.
Starting with cardio can be challenging, especially if you have been used to being less active most of the time. The thing with cardio, is that, there are a variety of different activities that you can do as a starting point. Choose something that piques your interest so it doesn’t feel like you are dragging yourself to exercising. If you are a nature lover, running, jogging, or biking can be a great start for you. If you want something that is varied and fun, you can try dancing.
The most important thing when you are starting out is to find how to keep yourself moving constantly. You just need to get started first and have a solid routine which will encourage you to move on to a more advanced level. In the beginning, do not overdo it as well. Give your body time to adapt. Before long, you will be able to do more than half an hour of cardio within three to five times in a week.
Once you have gotten the discipline through the basic cardio exercises, push yourself into doing the more advanced types of cardio training. Interval sprints, HIIT and tempo training are just some of the activities that you can look into. With cardio, the intensity is more important than the volume.
With the benefits that cardio gives, it is no question that it should be one of the aspects that you should integrate in your training routine. The goal of your cardio discipline should not stop in fat loss alone, as this type of workout can provide your body with so much more advantages.
By now, I hope you found this article helpful in learning how cardio exercises affect certain parts of your body. Please share with family and friends who are also fitness enthusiasts and would also like to add cardio exercises into their training regimen.