If you want to be fit and healthy, you need to take cardio seriously. There’s no way around it. Cardio is fundamental to how our bodies operate. Although most modern humans spend most of their time in chairs, studies of hunter-gatherers show that humans in their natural environment walk between 3.5 and 7 miles a day! That’s a lot of movement, and low impact cardio. Because human bodies adapted over a 100 thousand year period to a hunter-gatherer life style, the information age has put us all in a situation where our bodies aren’t moving as much as they should, and that’s hurting our health. Although there are many reasons to do cardio, here are our top 3:
Cardio increases metabolism
There are a few components to the metabolism, but the resting metabolic rate (RMR) is the big one effected by cardio. When you do cardio 3-5 times a week, your RMR increases by about 129 calories a day. That means that even when you’re resting, binge watching Game of Thrones, your body is still working harder than it would otherwise. 129 calories per day might not sound like much, but it adds up to 47,085 calories per year, which is over 13 pounds of fat burned while resting every year!
Cardio changes your hormones for the better
Cardio affects hormones in a few ways. First, it helps to reduce cortisol levels, when done correctly, and with adequate recovery. Cortisol is a hormone that your body reduces naturally during stress. It causes a variety of effects, but one of the main ones is that causes your body to store more fat. The reason for this stems back to hunter-gatherer times, when a spike in stress could have been related to a decrease in food supply. It made sense at one point, but in 2017 it’s a hinderance. We’re all under stress all the time, with deadlines, traffic and other pressures, and we always have access to calorie dense foods. This ticking time bomb causes us to pack on fat more and more throughout the years. However, proper cardio and recovery allow us to train our body to reduce cortisol levels.
The second big benefit of cardio is the increase in so-called feel-good hormones like dopamine and serotonin. These hormones have a mood elevating effect, and increase resistance to depression, anxiety and other mental health issues. One study recently found that people with poor cardiovascular health had a 75% higher risk of depression. So get out there, and do some cardio!
Cardio makes it easier to gain muscle
One of the most overlooked parts of gaining muscle is recovery. The time you spend in the gym doesn’t make you stronger; the time you spend recovering does. One of the huge benefits of regular cardio is that it increases your body’s ability to recover. Both through increased blood flow and increased metabolic response to food, cardio is a great supplement to those looking to gain muscle.
So, don’t neglect your cardio! It will help you stay happy, trim and muscular. There’s no substitute to a well planned cardio program, and if you want to be truly fit, you need to incorporate cardio into your routine. Give us a call at 727-216-9650, and we’ll help you get started. Happy exercising!