10 Fabulous benefits of cardio exercises
You probably know that cardio exercise will burn off calories and is good for your heart, but did you know that it’s also very good for your mental health too. In fact, giving your heart and your lungs a good workout with cardiovascular exercise has many more benefits than you may have ever realised. Cardio exercise gets your blood pumping faster, your heart beating faster, and it releases stress busting hormones into your body. Here are just ten of the amazing benefits of cardio exercise that you may not have known about.
1. Cardio exercise improves your sleep
People who exercise regularly sleep better at night and feel less tired during the day. It’s not just that cardio wears you out; it’s that it improves the functioning of your whole body and helps to regulate your sleep patterns. In a study published by The National Sleep Foundation, it was reported that people who did just 150 minutes of cardio a week improved their quality of sleep by 65%.
2. Cardio exercise helps boost the immune system
Regular cardio exercise could also help stop you catching a cold. There have been numerous studies that have found that people who exercise regularly are far less susceptible to viral infection than those who don’t exercise at all.
3. Cardio exercise increases your stamina
As anyone who runs will know, the more often you run, the easier it becomes and the further you can run. That increase in stamina that regular cardio gives you, will also extend into all aspects of your life. It will mean that you will feel a lot more energetic, right the way through the day and you won’t be falling asleep in an armchair at the end of the day, however busy you have been.
4. Cardio exercise improves bone health
Osteoporosis, a disease that is caused by a loss of bone mass, is becoming more and more prevalent and cardio can help you prevent that too. It has been shown that women who do cardio exercise, including a proper warm up and cool down, have increased bone mass density. That could greatly reduce the risk of broken bones in older age.
5. Cardio exercise improves brain function
Getting hot and sweaty doing cardio exercise can actually increase the size of your brain. This startling fact was discovered by researchers at the University of British Columbia. When they studied the effects of exercise on the brain, they found that cardio exercising increases the size of the hippocampus, which is the part of the brain that is responsible for learning and memory.
6. Cardio exercise prevents strokes
The temporary increase in heart rate that you experience when exercising can significantly reduce your risk of having a stroke. Thirty minutes of cardio exercise a day, just enough to increase your heart rate, could reduce your risk of suffering a stroke by as much as 20%. If you push yourself, just a little bit harder when you do cardio, it could reduce your risk by a further 7%.
7. Cardio exercise reduces stress
Cardio is also a great stress buster. A workout at the gym, or even just a brisk walk, will release norepinephrine into your blood, which is a chemical that is known to calm people down and combat the symptoms of stress. Regular exercise will also increase the body’s ability to deal with stress in the long term as well.
8. Cardio exercise alleviates depression
There is evidence to show that cardio exercise can be, in some cases, as effective as medication for treating depression. In a study that was published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, it was found that, in a group of 156 participants who had severe depression, over 60% reported a significant improvement in their symptoms after 16 weeks of taking regular cardio exercise.
9. Cardio exercise helps to prevent Alzheimer’s
Exercise can’t cure Alzheimer’s disease, but it might help prevent it. Cardio exercise stimulates the release of chemicals that help to prevent the degeneration of brain cells and studies have shown the more active people are, the less likely they are to develop Alzheimer’s. Exercise becomes particularly important for brain health once you have reached the age of 25 and above.
10. Cardio exercise reduces pain
If you are suffering with chronic pain, then cardio exercise will reduce it. When you exercise, your body release endorphins, which act as powerful pain killers. Just ten minutes of exercise, such as cycling, running, or walking, will release enough endorphins to reduce pain. Of course, you should not take strenuous exercise if your doctor has told you not to.
Do you know other health benefits of cardio exercise?
Stay happy and healthy!