You know you need to hit the gym, but sometimes, it’s tough to get off the couch. This is especially true if your only motivation is a slimmer aesthetic. In reality, however, the benefits of cardio exercise extend well beyond physique. The following are just a few of the many benefits you stand to gain by integrating cardio exercises into your workout routine:
One of the most obvious benefits of cardio is burning calories. While some like to say that abs are made in the kitchen, calorie burn also plays an important role in weight loss. Depending on the activity, you could burn anywhere between 300 and 800 calories in just one hour of cardiovascular activity.
In addition to dramatically improving your physical health, cardio activity could provide significant mental benefits. Multiple studies suggest that regular exercise stabilizes your mood and reduces tension. These reduced stress levels can be attributed to several chemical reactions within the brain, all sparked by physical activity.
Cardio reduces the body’s levels of stress hormones such as cortisol. Furthermore, cardio also produces endorphins — feel-good chemicals that help to combat the effects of stress. Endorphins are responsible for the notorious runner’s high experienced after a successful workout. In the midst of such euphoria, you’re not likely to feel stressed.
A Better Night’s Sleep
Sleep quality plays a key role in your weight, your ability to fight off illness, and your general wellbeing. In an age of notoriously poor sleep hygiene, cardio provides an easy means of dramatically improving both sleep quality and quantity. Much of this improvement derives from the simple use of energy that occurs during cardio exercise.
The more energy you use during the day, the less you have to expend in the evening — and the more likely you are to fall asleep quickly. And – as previously mentioned – exercise also reduces stress, which could otherwise keep you up at night. If you exercise on a regular basis, you’ll spend more time in the deepest states of sleep, which are the most physically restorative.
Heart disease is currently one of the most deadly conditions. Its risk can be minimized by leading a healthy lifestyle, complete with lots of cardiovascular activity. Cardio exercise essentially acts as a beta-blocker, leading to significant decreases in blood pressure and heart rate. Regular cardio also leads to prompter dilation of your heart’s arteries.
While improvements to heart health are thought to take several weeks or even months to manifest, even a single workout is capable of dramatically improving heart health through a process known as ischemic preconditioning.
Controlling Blood Sugar And Preventing Diabetes
Diabetes is one of the most concerning health issues of our time. A concerning report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reveals that over 100 million American adults either have diabetes or prediabetes. Both conditions can be mitigated or prevented altogether by a combination of a healthier diet and regular cardio.
Exercise prompts more effective processing of glycogen, which then helps to reduce blood sugar. Research suggests that regular exercise can significantly reduce the risk of developing type II diabetes. According to a study from Johns Hopkins, aerobic exercise combined with strength training can decrease the likelihood of developing diabetes by an astounding 50 percent. And if you’re already diagnosed with diabetes, exercise could play a key role in keeping symptoms to a minimum.
Improved Skin Quality
No makeup or skincare regimen can boost skin quality quite like regular exercise. Cardio promotes blood flow, thereby ensuring that skin cells are properly nourished. This increased blood flow also carries away waste. Furthermore, the stress reduction brought about by regular exercise may also result in dramatic improvements in skin quality. Periods of increased stress can impact your sebaceous glands, which are responsible for oil production.
Cardio may be all that stands between you and excellent physical health. By adopting a regular cardio regimen, you can improve almost every facet of your physical and mental health. Whether your primary objective involves better skin, a restful night’s sleep, or disease prevention, cardio can set you on the path to better health and wellbeing.
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