Cycling, running, dancing, hiking, group classes… when it comes to cardio, the options are endless to help you stay fit and improve your health.
In combination with a healthy lifestyle, regular cardiovascular exercise can not only improve your blood pressure and resting heart rate, but it can also improve your lung capacity, metabolism, and your weight on the scale.
But how long do you need to exercise to reap the benefits? The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity cardio activity or 75 minutes of high-intensity exercise (HIIT) during the week.
Do you need motivation to help you exercise? Discover all the benefits you can get.
Prevention of cardiovascular diseases
Regular cardio exercise helps improve heart health by reducing bad cholesterol levels and the risk of heart disease. how ? Just as squats work your leg muscles, doing cardio exercises your heart. This promotes better blood circulation throughout the body and strengthens the heart.
there French Federation of Cardiology Doctors recommend following World Health Organization guidelines to maintain your heart health.
Since cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death among people over 65, most people should get more cardio exercise into their lives to enjoy their retirement.
According to a study published in 2015(1)Physical exercise plays a major role in the treatment and prevention of hypertension (or high blood pressure). High blood pressure is a risk factor for heart attack, stroke, aneurysms, heart failure and even dementia.
Researchers point out that exercise activities, including cardio exercises, consistently lead to lower systolic and diastolic blood pressure in people with high blood pressure.
Strengthens the immune system
Do you want to get rid of colds in winter? maybe. According to a study conducted in 2020(2)Regular exercise activity (such as cardio) is beneficial for the immune system.
Following an exercise training program also helps maintain healthy blood cells and cytokines (a type of protein). These two elements are necessary for regulating the immune system.
Researchers also point out that certain types of cancer can be reduced thanks to exercise, but this research is still in progress. In addition, the authors of another study(3) A 2020 publication noted that regular physical activity can help prevent infection with COVID-19.
However, although we don't know yet whether moving regularly can actually prevent cancer or COVID-19 infection, it certainly contributes to a healthy immune system.
Brain and joints
Physical activity is good for brain and joint health. According to a study(4)Physical activity can reduce the risk of dementia, regardless of age. Other benefits include:
- Improve blood circulation and reduce the risk of stroke;
- Improve memory and thinking skills;
- Improve memory and thinking skills. ;
- Reducing the development of Alzheimer's disease;
- Fight osteoporosis and reduce the risk of hip fracture.
- Better management of arthritis problems and maintaining joint mobility.
Skin, muscle and weight
Whatever you choose to exercise, physical activity promotes blood circulation and the elimination of waste through sweat, leading to healthier skin.
On the muscular side, when you exercise them, you increase their supply of oxygen, allowing them to work more intensely. Over time, regular cardio training allows your muscles to adapt to a higher workload, making your daily activities easier.
In terms of weight loss, regular cardio exercises can help you lose weight without risk. Nothing new here, but it's the truth!
In a study conducted in 2013(5) In 92 participants, cardio alone, without any dietary changes, led to weight loss over 10 months in overweight or obese men and women. However, another study was published in 2017(6) It indicates that a combination of exercise sessions and nutritional changes is most effective.
Spending less time sitting and moving more will also help you maintain a stable weight by burning more calories throughout the day.
Pancreas and lungs
The pancreas is an organ that helps manage energy stores while participating in the digestive process. Rester activates the blood sugar control, reduces the blood sugar in your vital organs and reduces the risk of developing diabetes in type 2. in the blood.
For this reason, physical activity is generally one of the first strategies (along with dietary modifications) that doctors recommend for patients with type 2 diabetes.
According to a study published in 2017(7)Cardio, strength training, and high-intensity interval training help improve glucose regulation and keep blood sugar levels under control.
Even if you don't have diabetes, exercising regularly is a great preventive measure to avoid developing diabetes.
Moreover, being physically active also has a positive effect on your lungs. This helps reduce the number of breaths as your breathing skills improve, and reduces fatigue and shortness of breath if you have chronic lung problems.
Our morale fluctuates on a daily basis, but staying fit helps improve your mood, especially after a stressful day. So, next time you're feeling stressed or having a bad day, consider getting some exercise.
In addition, physical activity helps fight depression, improves self-esteem and releases stress-fighting hormones such as serotonin, dopamine and endorphins.
This positive effect has also been verified through multiple scientific studies. According to a study published in 2019(8)Physical activity, such as cardio, can also help treat symptoms of major depression.
According to the authors of another study from 2020(9)Engaging in physical activity is an inexpensive, low-stress way to help treat or prevent anxiety, depression, and other mental health conditions. Small study dated 2018(10) A study conducted on people with panic disorder revealed that getting a little exercise regularly helped reduce their anxiety.
Sleep and energy
There's a reason you feel great after a workout. Physical exercise increases your vitality, giving you greater and lasting motivation throughout the day. When it's time for bed, having trouble falling asleep is the last thing you want after a long and busy day. The good news is that cardio helps you fall asleep faster and promotes REM sleep.
study(11) A 2013 study among people with insomnia revealed that regular exercise helped improve their sleep quality. Be careful and avoid intense exercise too close to bedtime, otherwise you will be too excited to sleep.
Keep in mind that hopping on the treadmill may not be like a magic wand and all your problems will go away, but research suggests that you will enjoy many health benefits and increase your chances of living healthy for longer.
What are its benefits?