Cardio is one of the most feared words in the strength and conditioning world. It’s difficult, sometimes it can be tedious, and if you’re doing it right, can make you feel sick when you’re done. So why would anyone actually WANT to add cardio training to their regular workout routine?
We’re glad you asked, and we’ll give you 4 reasons why you should want to start doing cardio work in addition to your normal workouts.
1. Doing Cardio Strengthens Your Heart
This benefit may seem obvious but that doesn’t make it any less important. In a country where 1 in every 4 deaths is attributed to heart disease, making sure you have a healthy heart should be a priority. While cardio on its own won’t prevent heart disease entirely (Healthy eating habits and abstaining from tobacco use are factors that can help as well), it can go a long way in reducing the risk of it.
Like your biceps, the heart is a muscle that will get stronger the more often and harder you challenge it. Because your heart is responsible for pumping oxygen-carrying blood through your entire body, your endurance in other exercises will also increase.
2. Doing Cardio Boosts Your Metabolism
Your metabolism is essentially the body’s engine. The stronger the metabolism, the more fuel it needs to function well. A strong metabolism means you can eat more food before the body will store it as fat.
Studies have shown that cardio exercise can boost your metabolism for up to 48 hours after your workout is finished. This phenomenon is referred to as excess post-exercise oxygen consumption or EPOC for short. Keep in mind that the more intense the cardio workout, the longer your body will benefit from EPOC.
3. Doing Cardio Can Give You More Energy
Cardiovascular exercise increases the efficiency at which your heart transports blood throughout your body. As a result, more oxygen is able to get to the muscles that need it and at a quicker pace. The more efficient your body is at transporting oxygen to the muscles that demand it, the better your body will be at producing energy. Over time, tasks will become less and less of a drain on your energy because your body will be more conditioned. A stronger heart can also lead to better sleep which will, in turn, provide more energy for your day!
4. Doing Cardio Can Increase Mental Clarity
Good blood flow not only provides you with more energy for daily tasks, but it can also increase your ability to think clearly and make decisions. The more oxygen that circulates through the brain, the better the performance.
Another reason cardiovascular exercise can boost mental clarity is due to the part of the brain that gets activated during exercise. According to the Scientific American, “The hippocampus, a part of the brain critical for learning and memory, is highly active during exercise.” While this “cranial boost” is a short-term benefit, some studies have linked aerobic exercise to a reversing of hippocampal shrinkage which happens over time.
As you can see, while cardio may not be everyone’s favorite form of exercise, there are many extremely good benefits to adding it into your regular workout routine. If you have any questions about gyms, gym equipment, or personal training, we’d be happy to talk with you! If you’re looking to add to a home or commercial gym, we offer a great variety of the best cardio and other exercise equipment in the industry.