Cardio is one of ‘those things’ that is put off by many who workout…I used to be one of those people, so I know what it feels like to not be a huge fan of cardio (I wouldn’t say I’m now a fan of cardio necessarily…I don’t mind it now though haha).
However, for those of us who don’t do it, are there benefits to cardio that we are missing out on? Usually people do cardio when they want to lose weight and when they’ve lost the weight the cardio stops…until the next fat loss plan comes around! But cardiovascular training has more benefits than just burning calories, which we’ll now explore…
Stronger Heart & Cardiovascular System
The heart is a muscle and it can get stronger when exercised - just like any other muscle. Although weight training does increase the heart rate, cardiovascular work is the best form of exercise to improve the hearts strength and the efficiency of the cardiovascular system. General cardio can help with this e.g. jogging or cycling…HIIT training and so on. Although we could go into serious depth here, the main point is that cardiovascular training is what trains the cardiovascular system best, surprise surprise right? Having a stronger cardiovascular system also has carry over to weights too, as you’ll be able to recover more quickly between sets especially for those high repetition sessions.
Reduced Risk of Certain Diseases
Certain diseases are significantly reduced when an individual takes part in regular cardiovascular based exercise (and exercise generally) this makes sense as a fitter person is of course going to be healthier which leads to less chance of illness and the like. A staggering 50% reduction in cardiovascular disease has been linked to those who have a high level of cardiovascular fitness by The American College of Sports Medicine, although intuitively this makes sense having figures really helps to hammer the point home. Additionally, cardiovascular training helps to keep many other parts of the body strong including our bones - reducing the risk for osteoporosis (particularly in older generations).
So, if some of these benefits sound right up your street what I’d suggest is starting small…just do a short cardio session at first and build from there. That may be doing a 5 minute jog on a treadmill and working up to a 5km run over a few weeks or a month or two…something is always better than nothing, don’t be overly concerned with being perfect, just start and look to improve each time.
So we've talked about a few benefits of doing cardiovascular training….then there’s improved mood, having more energy, improved cholesterol, body weight maintenance, blood pressure benefits…it goes on!
We’ve also talked briefly about implication, start small and improve over time - easy.
Whatever you’re currently doing - whether you train with weights, don’t exercise at all, do a little bit of exercise here and there…cardiovascular training can help make you a healthier, fitter you which also has cross overs into other area of life...