After hearing about various forms of fitness training, we often forget what these fitness terms actually mean. So I thought I would take a moment to bring us back to the basics when it comes to cardio training.
In a nutshell, cardio training is a form of fitness training that strengthens your heart, lungs and vascular system. We'll take a look at both the benefits and drawbacks of cardio training and highlight some of the best cardio exercises.
Cardio training is a fantastic tool that can enhance your health and fitness in numerous ways. Here's a quick glance at the main benefits:
Improved Cardiovascular Fitness: Cardio training strengthens your heart, lungs and vascular system. This enhances the efficiency with which your body produces and utilizes oxygen and ultimately boosts your overall energy and endurance levels.
Better Quality Sleep: A number of studies have shown that cardio training has a positive impact on sleep quality and allows you to get a deeper, more restful night’s sleep.
Enhanced Immunity: Cardio training boosts your immune system by stimulating the production of white blood cells and helping them to circulate more quickly throughout your body.
Improved Endurance: As mentioned above, cardio training enhances your cardiovascular fitness which has a positive impact on your overall endurance levels. This improved endurance allows you to work out for longer without getting tired.
Improved Mental Fitness: In addition to the physical benefits, cardio training also boosts your brain by lowering your stress levels and improving your mood.
Reduced Risk Of Chronic Disease: Regular cardio training helps to regulate blood glucose levels in diabetics and can also reduce your cancer risk by as much as 50%.
Weight Loss: Cardio training is a fantastic fat burner with some cardio exercises blasting through over 1,000 calories per hour.
Despite its many wonderful benefits, cardio training can have some potential negatives when used excessively:
Increased Injury Risk: Many cardio exercises are high impact and put pressure on your bones, joints and muscles which increases your risk for various injuries.
Higher Caloric Intake: Excessive cardio can cause your body to require a higher caloric intake. Consuming large amounts of calories places pressure on your digestive system, causes irregular blood glucose levels and can lead to various health complications.
Reduced Muscle Mass: High volume cardio training combined with a low-calorie diet could lead to muscular breakdown and reduced muscle mass.
Sleep Problems: While moderate cardio training helps you sleep, too much cardio can have the opposite effect and can make it difficult to fall asleep at night.
There are hundreds of cardio exercises to choose from, so you can easily find one that’s right for you. Here a few favorites for you to try:
Cycling: Cycling is a fantastic cardio exercise that works off between 400 and 1,000 calories per hour (depending on your intensity). It’s low impact, allows you to get outside and top up your vitamin D levels and you can enjoy it on your own or as part of a group.
Running: Running is a simple but fun cardio exercise that gets you outside, provides you with vitamin D and blasts through an impressive 1,000 calories per hour.
Swimming: Swimming is a gentle, low-impact cardio exercise that burns off 650 calories per hour. It also helps to strengthen and tone your muscles and is suitable for all ages.
Team Sports: Team sports are a great way to boost your cardio fitness while also adding a social element to your workouts. They blast through between 300 and 800 calories per hour and also improve your balance, coordination and flexibility.
Walking: Never underestimate the power of a walk! While walking is a light cardiovascular exercise, it's suitable for all fitness levels. It works off between 150 and 250 calories per hour (depending on your pace). It's easy to incorporate into your day and great for your mental health too.
Cardio training is often unfairly criticized in health and fitness circles. However, provided that you don’t overdo it, cardio training can give your health and fitness a significant boost without you experiencing any negative side effects. So choose some cardio exercises you enjoy and start incorporating them into your health and fitness routine.
Always consult your physician before beginning any exercise program. This general information is not intended to diagnose any medical condition or to replace your healthcare professional. Consult with your healthcare professional to design an appropriate exercise prescription. If you experience any pain or difficulty with these exercises, stop and consult your healthcare provider.