Cardio training is often the first thing that comes to mind when we think of weight loss methods. Running, sweating, huffing and puffing, it may seem like a means to an end rather than an activity to be enjoyed. I totally get it; cardio training can seem like a drag sometimes, doubly so if you aren’t seeing the results you expected straight away.
If we can learn to love our cardio training, our engagement and longevity with the activity will increase meaning a greater chance for long term success. The enjoyment we find in cardio training should stem from the knowledge that we are doing our body a world of good every time we put on your running shoes to go out for a walk or run, not in the hopes of reaching our goal weight after a single session. This is a sure-fire way to be discouraged and quit before you even get started.
If you are feeling stuck with your cardio training and struggling to find the motivation to continue, here are just a couple of reasons why it’s so beneficial to our overall health and some best practices to follow when setting out on your fitness journey.
IMPROVES CARDIOVASCULAR HEALTH
Cardio training increases our cardiovascular health by strengthening the efficiency of our heart, allowing it to pump more blood around the body. This helps to carry vital nutrients throughout the bloodstream and provide oxygen rich blood to our muscles and organs to keep them in tip top shape. This may seem arbitrary, however a decreased heart rate due to a sedentary lifestyle can lead to all sorts of health complications including a higher risk of heart disease.
CARDIO IMPROVES MOBILITY
Cardio training, particularly low impact exercises like these, will help to improve our overall mobility and decrease chronic pain. The logical course of action if you are experiencing chronic pain is to put a stop to all exercise that could potentially cause flare ups and worsen symptoms, however exercise has been shown to reverse symptoms of chronic pain over time and helps to avoid the potentially catastrophic effects of de-conditioning.
Remember to take it all at your own pace and be kind and gentle with yourself. It’s not a race!
CARDIO ASSISTS IN WEIGHT LOSS
Cardio training coupled with a healthy and nutritious diet is key to shedding those lbs. A key factor in weight loss is to be expending more calories a day than you are putting in to your body, and cardio training will help you to burn more calories even when you’re not working out. The most efficient way to burn fat and expend more calories is through high intensity interval training (or HIIT) which focusses on short burst of exercise with low intensity moves. If you’re up for a HIIT session right now, I think you’ll really enjoy this one!
CARDIO BOOSTS OUR IMMUNITY
Because cardio training boosts the circulation of blood around the body, the amount of white blood cells being carried around to vital organs is also increased. White blood cells are primarily responsible for the body’s natural defences against disease and sickness, so it makes sense that an increase in activity will help to bolster our overall immunity.
To keep this up, aim for completing at least one session of cardio a day. This could be as simple as a 5-minute walk or a high intensity session. So long as your body is moving, the blood is pumping!
CARDIO BOOSTS OUR MOOD
There is nothing better and more instantaneous for boosting our mood and mindset than exercise. When we move our bodies, our brains release endorphins which help us to cope with the stress exercise puts on our bodies. Endorphins help push us even further and encourage us to continue training by giving us a natural high as a reward for our efforts. Bottom line: If it feels good to exercise, we’ll continue to do so.
Endorphins have many benefits on our overall mental health including reduced depression and anxiety, a boost in self-esteem and lowered stress levels, all of which contribute to rapid ageing in the body. Exercise in any form is wildly beneficial for our state of mind and can pull us out of feelings of isolation and loneliness.
If you are just starting on your exercise journey and not sure what to do or where to go, I would love for you to join the Fabulous50s Challenge group on Facebook. The challenge group has been designed to accommodate every woman looking to improve their fitness level and to help support and encourage you through the process. This is also a great way to meet new, fabulous women who are all on a similar journey to you. You are not alone in this.
CARDIO IMPROVES OUR BRAIN HEALTH
Cognitive decline is a part of the ageing process, though it doesn’t necessarily have to be.
As the blood is pumped around the body when completing a cardio session, so too is the blood transported more readily to one of our most important organs, the brain. Keeping our brain well oxygenated with a steady stream of oxygen rich blood can help to improve our overall cognitive prowess and stave off brain related conditions usually associated with age.
Cardio training has even been shown to stimulate the formation of new cells in the brain, keeping it fresh and healthy