There is a multitude of benefits that come with regular cardiovascular exercise and many might even come as a surprise. In addition to the more well-known benefits, there are many that most wouldn’t even think of. Below, we’ll outline the key benefits of recreational cardiovascular activity, as well as the types of exercises that tend to help people based on their goals.
Improves Weight Management
Regular cardiovascular exercise burns calories, leading to long-term weight loss. The more you do, the more weight you can potentially lose. With a well-structured diet, you can either be at a net loss (for weight loss), or you can cancel out extra caloric intake (weight maintenance). It’s totally up to you, but nevertheless, it helps combat weight loss at its core.
As your muscles get used to the increased work, they adapt and increase in overall strength. Over a period of time, regular activities (like walking, or climbing stairs) will seem easier and eventually effortless.
Lowers Blood Pressure
Having a physical outlet can reduce stress and reduce blood pressure.
Cardio gets the blood pumping, which results in an increase in circulation. Better blood circulation can lead to clearer skin.
Enhances Neurologic Activity
One of the lesser-known (and most beneficial) areas is the brain! Cardio improves memory and overall cognitive abilities and helps decline that comes naturally with age.
Boosts Your Immune System
Researchers are finding a link between regular exercise and health (the not sick kind). Many believe there are many variables in play, but mostly that the circulation helps the entire body, including your white blood cell count.
Similar to your heart and other muscles, your lungs are being trained with cardiovascular exercise. This helps them work more efficiently, essentially enabling them to do more with less oxygen.
Regulates Blood Sugar
Better circulation and heart health is a great way to control blood sugar and manage cholesterol and blood fats.
Improves Sleep Routines
Your body falls into cycles, or “routines”. Exercising gives you more energy throughout the day, which eventually tires you out more at night. Once this becomes a regular activity, your body will be able to make more with its energy and get more out of its sleeping time.
Enhances Your Mood
Ever hear of runners high? It’s real and while the average person might not take exercise to that extreme, many studies to suggest a link between cardio and heightened moods.
The Best Types of Cardio
The truth is, there is no “best” type of cardio. There are many great forms, but what suits you depends on your limitations and goals (also what you tend to enjoy more).
This is Best For: Cardiovascular Endurance + Weight Loss
Personally, we think this is the best way to reduce stress mainly because running can be a great outlet when you have pent up aggression. We love everything about running except that it can be hard on your knees over time.
This is Best For: Joint-Conscious Exorcise Cardiovascular Endurance
With less intensity than a run/jog, a brisk power walk can be a strong substitute.
This is Best For: Cardiovascular Endurance + Lower Body Strength Training
This is Best For: Joint-Conscious Cardiovascular Endurance + Weight Loss
Whether you’re inside or out, cycling is a great way to get a workout in and it’s better on your knees than running.
This is Best For: Cardiovascular Endurance + Upper Body Strength Training
In our opinion, swimming is one of the best overall workouts because you’re using your entire body. It’s more of an upper-body workout, whether you’re doing a freestyle, breaststroke, backstroke, butterfly, etc.
This is Best For: Joint-Conscious Exorcise Cardiovascular Endurance (Indoors)
It’s like running and cycling combined. If you enjoy running but want less stress on your knees, the elliptical is for you. You can also add resistance to activate your glutes and hamstrings.