When it comes to exercise, many people tend to just focus on strength training and overlook the importance of cardiovascular exercise, commonly referred to as cardio. While strength training is undoubtedly beneficial for building muscle mass and improving overall strength, cardio provides a range of health benefits that are just as important.
Here are just a few reasons why we should incorporate cardio into our workout routines:
1. Cardiovascular Health
Cardiovascular exercise is crucial for maintaining a healthy heart and circulatory system. Engaging in regular cardio can reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke, and other cardiovascular conditions by improving blood flow and circulation, reducing inflammation, and lowering blood pressure. Your heart's a muscle that needs training too!
2. Weight Management
If you're looking to lose weight or maintain a healthy weight, cardio is an essential component of any exercise routine. Cardio workouts burn calories, which can help create a calorie deficit and lead to weight loss. Additionally, regular cardio can increase your metabolism, making it easier to maintain a healthy weight over time. Although it's no magic solution, cardio can be a great tool to help increase your energy expenditure!
3. Improved Mood and Mental Health
Cardiovascular exercise has been shown to release endorphins, the body's natural "feel-good" chemicals, which can lead to improved mood and reduced stress and anxiety. Regular cardio can also help reduce symptoms of depression and improve overall mental health. Keep in mind how you feel after- when have you ever regretted a workout?!
4. Increased Stamina and Endurance
Cardio workouts challenge your body's aerobic capacity, increasing your stamina and endurance over time. Regular cardio can help improve your overall fitness level and make everyday activities, like climbing stairs or carrying groceries, feel easier. As you get older, do you really want to be gasping for breath when you climb the stairs?
5. Variety and Fun
Adding cardio to your workout routine can provide variety and excitement. There are countless types of cardio workouts to choose from, including running, swimming, cycling, and dancing (as well as hype and fusion of course!). Experiment with different types of cardio to find what you enjoy and keep things interesting.
In summary, while strength training is important for building muscle and strength, it's crucial to also incorporate cardiovascular exercise into our workout routines. Cardio provides a range of health benefits, including improved cardiovascular health, weight management, improved mood and mental health, increased stamina and endurance, and variety in workouts. Although you may find it more difficult and uncomfortable than strength training, it is too important to avoid. Try and find something you enjoy (or can endure) to help keep your heart and mind healthy. So, next time you hit the gym, don't forget to add in some cardio, and if you haven't already, give hype and/or fusion a go!