Cardio exercise is also known as aerobic exercise or cardiovascular exercise. It recruits large muscle groups over long periods of time. A few examples of cardio exercise are walking, running, cycling, swimming, athletics, and even vacuuming. When you participate in aerobic exercise, your heart rate and breathing rate increase. The CDC recommends two hours and thirty minutes of moderate intensity cardiovascular activity every week to positively benefit one’s health.
Cardio workouts have been proven to help maintain a healthy weight. Considering cardiovascular exercise requires the use of energy, the fat stored in your body is used as fuel when you exercise. The longer your aerobic exercise routine is, the more calories you will burn. First your body will use all of the readily available glucose in your blood. Next, your body will resort to burning stored fat. Cardio exercise will also increase muscle density and mass. More muscle means an increase your BMR, basal metabolic rate, or the amount of calories it takes to sustain your body's functions at rest.
Another wonderful benefit of aerobic exercise is it increases your body’s efficiency. After gaining cardiovascular fitness, several internal adaptations take place in your body that makes you healthier. Your heart will increase its ability to pump blood throughout your circulatory system and will become much stronger. Your body will also get better at delivering oxygen to your muscles. Through cardiovascular exercise you will acquire more hemoglobin in your blood and more capillaries, which will increase your body’s strength in transporting blood where it’s needed.
One of the greatest effects of cardio workouts is the decrease in disease vulnerability. By completing aerobic exercises and increases your aerobic fitness level, you will reduce your risk of several chronic and life-threatening diseases, like heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and some cancers like colon cancer, breast cancer, lung cancer and multiple myeloma cancers. Studies show that cardiovascular fitness can result in a 50% reduced change of cardiovascular disease. Regular cardio exercise will also increase your sugar sensitivity which in turn will reduce your chances for developing diabetes.
Lastly, aerobic exercises promote mental health. Cardio workouts can help alleviate pain from anxiety or depression. Researchers are still studying the correlation between exercise and mood, but it is clear they are related. Exercise causes the release of happy chemicals in the brain called endorphins, which have been known to improve mood. Exercise has also been thought to reduce immune system chemicals that have been known to create depression. Cardio workouts increase body temperature which is known for having calming effects. Cardio exercisers notice a gain in confidence, a decrease in stress, and more social peace.