The benefits of cardio exercise cannot be overstated. Cardio is one of the 3 pillars of any overall fitness plan, along with stretching and resistance training. Regular cardio workouts can become a habit and way of life for you, just as the absence of cardio is also a habit…a bad habit!
A full 80% of Americans do not get the recommended exercise, which means only a slim 20% do! So that stat alone should be enough to get you moving.
Once you take the first step to making cardio a part of your daily or weekly routine, it will soon become habit…good habit. This might take about 6 weeks for it to touch your soul.
After 6 weeks, though, you will see (and feel) so many benefits in who you are, how you feel, how you look, and more, that you will look forward to your workouts.
Making Cardio a Habit
When you start to really “taste” those results, it will get in your blood. And confidence breeds confidence. Belief breeds belief. It builds from there, like a runaway train.
This does not mean you will always enjoy the workouts. But once you develop cardio as part of your daily routine, then you will start to feel healthier and the success becomes self-perpetuating.
And yes, that is the key, to do cardio daily! Not every cardio routine needs to be intense and draining. Some workouts can be light and even relaxing, such as a fast walk through the neighborhood. But the key is some sort of motion each and every day.
If you are already a cardio pro, there are many variations on this site that venture beyond what most people see as everyday cardio.
Benefits of Cardio
The benefits of cardio cover nearly every aspect of your life:
You will have better circulation if you are on a consistent cardio routine. Your heart will become stronger and more efficient, thus improving your circulation.
Improved Heart Health
The benefits of cardio are no more apparent than with your heart health. The more this all-important muscle is put to work, the stronger and more efficient it will become. This becomes very apparent during cardio exercise when you see progressive improvements in your cardio heart rate (1).
Cardio, along with a nutritious and balanced diet, is a key to maintaining your healthy weight. Two-thirds (2/3) of all Americans are overweight or obese, and there are a host of health problems connected to this statistic. Achieving a healthy weight is step #1 to good overall health.
Cardio exercise also contributes to fat loss because it speeds up your metabolism. So not only are you burning calories during your workout, but your metabolism will be stepped up for several hours after exercise.
Better Sleep With Cardio
It is well documented that exercise is a great antidote for stress. A related benefit is that cardio serves to relax your mind and body, and therefore improves your sleep. It also makes sense that if you exert yourself in exercise during the day, your muscles will be relaxed and more tired at night.
Regular cardio can dramatically improve your blood pressure. It is common for someone’s blood pressure to improve from 145/88 to 120/80 in the course of 6 months as a result of cardio and improved diet.
You will see weekly improvements in your blood pressure as you work your cardio routines. Wow…what a relief to see improved blood pressure.
Improved Lung Function
Cardio workouts do not increase lung capacity, but they do improve the effectiveness of the lungs and their ability to process oxygen from the air you breathe to the blood pumped from the heart.
Cardio Benefits Include Reduced Stress
Regular cardio releases endorphins, which reduce stress and anxiety (hormonal improvements).
Reduces Risk of Disease
The risk of heart disease, cancer, Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and other diseases is reduced significantly with regular cardio exercise. Here is more info on how cardio can reduce disease (2).
Increases your HDL (good) cholesterol and reduces triglycerides.
Increases your body’s overall efficiency and therefore increases energy levels. Your body has a finite amount of energy to consume each day, and when your heart is more efficient and your circulation is better, your body will operate with greater efficiency.
This is a good thing, since according to the National Sleep Foundation (NSF), one-third (1/3) of people are so tired during the day that it affects their ability to perform daily activities (3).
Benefits of Cardio Beyond Your Health
The benefits of cardio also extend to your appearance, as you will be more likely to maintain a healthy weight, and this will improve the way you look.
If you look better and you feel better, then you will naturally feel better about yourself.
In the end, maybe the greatest benefits of cardio are the way you see you, and the way you feel about you. All of the health benefits and improved body efficiency are gravy!
And learn also the best time to do cardio.
Click here for cardio workouts.
1. Stewart, K. J. (n.d.). 3 Kinds of Exercise That Boost Heart Health. Johns Hopkins Medicine. https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/wellness-and-prevention/3-kinds-of-exercise-that-boost-heart-health#:%7E:text=Aerobic%20Exercise,-What%20it%20does&text=How%20much%3A%20Ideally%2C%20at%20least,per%20week%20of%20moderate%20activity.
2. Mayo Clinic Staff. (2020). Exercise and chronic disease: Get the facts. Mayo Clinic. https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/fitness/in-depth/exercise-and-chronic-disease/art-20046049?reDate=10062021
3. Pacheco, D. (2021). What’s the Best Time of Day to Exercise for Sleep? Sleep Foundation. https://www.sleepfoundation.org/physical-activity/best-time-of-day-to-exercise-for-sleep