Have you ever wondered if cardio is all it's cracked up to be?
If peddling on a bike, pushing on an elliptical, or running miles is time well spent?
And if so, how much cardio can boost your physical and psychological well being?
The short answer is this: Cardio is good for your body and mind. There are a variety of ways that physically induced huffing and puffing can benefit your health and life. Here are our top 5!
Healthy blood sugar balance
A certain amount of sugar in the blood is needed to function well; to supply sufficient energy for homeostasis, exertion, repair.
Too little — called hypoglycemia — and you can experience symptoms like a foggy head, an irregular heart beat, dizziness, fatigue, headache, irritability, ravenous hunger, shakiness, trouble with your vision or speech. If severe, you can even lose consciousness, or worse.
Too much — called hyperglycemia — and you may feel tired, thirsty, need to pee often, experience blurred vision or brain fog, develop infections like cystitis or thrush, or your weight may change. Your mood can also take a hit. Agitation, anxiety and sadness may result.
Maintaining the right balance is key. This is where aerobic exercise comes in.
A study published in the Annals of Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine found that cardio:
— Enhanced insulin sensitivity, which is crucial for a balanced blood sugar level
— Improved blood glucose (sugar) control
The authors concluded that, “Exercise represents an effective interventional strategy to improve glycaemic control.”
A healthy blood sugar level also reduces the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
Better brain function
The brain constantly changes. The health, adaptation, and repair of nerve cells and non-nerve cells, and the creation of neurotransmitters (messengers), depend on fuel. And a great deal of it. The constant activity of the living brain means it is always hungry. As such, a dependable energy source is required. The mammalian brain — our human brain — uses glucose as its main power source.
To ensure enough fuel reaches the brain, sufficient blood flow is needed. That’s why suffering from a stroke, for example, can wreak havoc on the brain. As the supply of nourishment is cut off, tissue dies and function falters. Cardio increases blood flow to the brain and, in doing so, protects against neurological injury.
But cardio delivers more benefits than blood supply alone.
With this in mind (pun intended), how can aerobic exercise help?
As the journal article, The Influence of Exercise on Cognitive Abilities, noted, aerobic fitness:
— Spares us from the loss of brain tissue associated with aging
— Enhances cognitive control and memory
— Enables us to process information faster; to remain quick-witted
— Provides mental clarity
— Improves reaction times
— Encourages neuroplasticity; the ability to reorganize the brain's connections, functions, and structure depending on internal and external stimuli
Basketball, jogging, rowing, skipping, swimming, and tennis are wonderful options for a switched on, healthy, and youthful brain!
Flexible, strong joints
To get your heart pumping and your lungs breathing deeper you must push yourself. This is how cardio improves your health; as you push yourself from your comfort zone, your body changes. The result is increased fitness.
Wonderfully, this process is holistic. Your joints must also adjust; refashioning themselves to cope with the increased stress. Bones become stronger, reducing the risk of osteoporosis. Range of motion improves as stiffness is shaken from within. Joint strength increases, in line with the “use it or lose it” mantra.
A strong heart is essential for a healthy life. Yet cardiovascular disease (CVD) is rampant in our society. As the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention reports, one person dies from CVD every 36 seconds. Those stats are terrifying! And it's not only the elderly who succumb. One in five deaths are in people under the age of 65. Some, well under.
Yet, exercise provides science-backed hope.
For example, risk factors for a dodgy heart include diabetes, overweight and obesity, and physical inactivity…
Cardio, as we discussed earlier, helps to balance blood sugar level. In doing so, it helps to prevent and offer effective treatment for diabetes.
Better blood sugar together with exercise’s ability to burn fat can reduce excess body fat.
Plus, a sedentary lifestyle is no longer seat bound when you get up and move. Then there are the direct effects.
As a report published in the journal, Circulation, said, the more active people are, the less likely they are to develop coronary heart disease (CHD). If CHD does develop, its onset is delayed and its severity is milder.
By reducing your risk factors and directly improving the health of your heart, you will reduce your risk of an early grave and live a healthier, vital life.
You will have heard of the term, “the runners high”. The deeply relaxed euphoric state sometimes experienced by those who run. While this experience is uncommon, and we’re not yet sure exactly why it occurs, we know two things absolutely: cardio can lead to happiness and promotes a virtuous cycle.
As a study published in the International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity noted, “Physical activity promotes happiness and vice versa.”
Exercise-induced mental health benefits include:
— Stress relief
— Reduction in the experience of anxiety and depression
How much cardio is enough?
Each week, between five to seven sessions of moderate exercise should be completed. Each day should include at least 30-minutes. This can be completed in one hit or be broken into smaller sessions.
Moderate activities are equivalent to a brisk walk at a pace of three to four miles per hour. Other options include cycling, household tasks, yard work, and the examples we gave earlier.
Our secret cardio weapon
Want a way to max the results you gain from pounding the pavement, swimming laps, or cycling?
Let’s look at our secret weapon!
HyperLoad is scientifically formulated to increase strength, reduce muscle fatigue, and improve endurance to smash through your cardio sessions. With Nitrosigine® to boost mental sharpness and focus, and L-Theanine to calm the mind and improve your mood, this product will kick your motivation and sessions up a noticeable notch!
As Dori C said, “Love the taste! And the energy it gives me to train is great. I’ve been using this one for a year now and it works every time. I never crash.”
The benefits of cardio are broad. From healthy blood sugar balance to better brain function, flexible, strong joints to a stronger heart and happier mood, regular aerobic exercise can boost your wellbeing and vitality, while protecting you from deadly diseases.
Aerobic fitness matters and regular cardio will help you get there. Your body and mind will thank you!