Want to know exactly what benefits a cardio workout can have? Read on to see how they can impact you!
Most people know that strength training and lifting weights is a great way to build muscle and get stronger, but when you ask them about the benefits of cardio workouts they’ll probably be stuck for an answer.
Maybe they’ll say it helps with losing weight and perhaps they’ll mention how cardio can help you get fitter, but outside of that, most people don’t know what it actually does.
If that’s you, and you’re not entirely sure how cardio workouts can benefit you, read on. Because in this article we’re going to outline all of the benefits of cardio workouts, so you know exactly what’s happening to your body when you exercise.
Cardio is a shortened version of the word cardiovascular and when we talk about it in exercise terms, we’re referring to exercise that increases the heart rate and makes us breathe heavier.
Technically you could use weights and make it a cardio workout (like you do in Bootcamp or circuits) but in most examples, when people talk about cardio workouts, they’re referring to forms of exercise that use your aerobic system (heart and lungs) at a higher intensity for a prolonged period.
Before we outline the benefits of cardio workouts, let’s look at how you can get started if you’re new. The first thing you need to do is identify what type of cardio workout you want to try. You don’t have to stick with one workout forever, but it will give you an idea of what you like to do.
Here are the most common options:
Once you know what type of exercise you’re going to be performing, it’s important to ensure you have the right type of kit. That means shoes that are right for the exercise you’re doing and suitable clothing for the session.
If you’re new to exercise you should also consult with your doctor before beginning a new exercise regime. Once you’re ready to go, pace yourself and just get used to the exercise to limit the risk of injury.
The Benefits of a Cardio Workout
You know what we mean by cardio workout and you have an idea of the type of workouts you could be doing, now let’s take a closer look at the benefits you will enjoy.
How Much Exercise Do you Need?
When most people think of the benefits that come with exercise they often think more is better, but the problem with that is it can often lead to injury. If you try to workout for an hour a day, every day of the week, it won’t take long for you to burn out, or hurt yourself.
To truly get the long-term benefits of exercise you should aim for consistency and if you can stick to 30 minutes of exercise 5 times a week, that will be enough. Try to make sure some of those sessions are more intense, and challenging for your body, but overall, just make sure you’re consistent and you’re performing at the right difficulty and intensity.
That will make sure you get all the essentials benefits and will help you to look, feel and move better.
Cardio Workouts and Safety
It’s always important to consult your doctor before starting a new exercise program, especially if you have any pre-existing health concerns.
Once you’ve been given the all-clear, our advice is simply to take it easy and be sensible.
Ease yourself into it and don’t try to do too much at once. Instead, focus on improving your technique and getting better week by week and have realistic expectations about your progress.
Whether you’re running, rowing, cycling, or attending classes, it’s also important you have the right equipment for the job. This doesn’t mean going out and spending a fortune to have the latest fitness fashion, but it does mean having sensible footwear and clothes that are easy to move in.
If you take this approach it’ll help keep you safe and make the workouts more enjoyable for a long time to come.
Cardio Workouts and Intensity
It’s important that when you’re performing these workouts you’re actually challenging yourself.
That doesn’t mean you need to push until you feel pain or until your body wants to give in, far from it, and if that ever happens it means you’re doing too much and could be at risk of injury, but it does mean you’re not simply going through the motions.
For maximum benefits and to truly reap the rewards of your workout, you need to ensure you’re working at a moderate to vigorous level in at least 3 of your 5 sessions a week.
If you hop off the spin bike after 30 minutes and you don’t feel somewhat tired or out of breath then it means you didn’t work hard enough.
A good way to gauge this is to use the ‘talk test’. If you can have a full conversation with someone during your session, you’re not working hard enough and could be doing more. It doesn’t mean go full throttle, but it does mean challenging yourself to work harder.
Cardio-based workouts are about so much more than simply losing weight or keeping fit. Sure they help to do those things but as you have read in this article, they can also help with mental health, sleep quality, long-term physical health, and even with things like improving energy and mood.
The key now is to find something that you love. Whether that’s running inside on a treadmill instead of outdoors, or buying a rowing machine to workout at home. It doesn’t matter what type of cardio workout you perform, just make sure it’s something you enjoy and that you can see yourself doing it for some time to come.