What It Is and How It Helps
Cardiovascular exercise is any exercise that increases heart rate and respiration. During cardio, heart rate goes up and the organ pumps more blood into the body. As the heart delivers the blood needed, the respiratory system works hard to deliver more oxygen to the major muscle groups being used. A broad range of activities falls into the category of cardiovascular exercise. These include but are not limited to walking, jogging, running and high-intensity interval training.
Every fitness plan should include cardiovascular exercise. The human body is made to move and ensuring that it does on a regular basis will do a lot of good. One major benefit of cardiovascular exercise is improved heart health. Getting the heart pumping faster on a regular basis strengthens it like any other muscle. Every pump is comparable to a rep for the biceps. The more pumps, the stronger the heart. In addition to the heart, the respiratory system benefits as well. It becomes stronger, more efficient and over time, lung capacity is increased. This means more oxygen is able to enter the body’s cells with every breath.
Cardiovascular exercise also improves the body’s ability to recover. This is especially helpful to those that integrate some strength training into their fitness plan. No one likes DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) but cardio helps with that by supplying muscles with oxygen-rich blood to aid in the recovery phase.
This form of exercise also increases metabolism. Metabolism is the term used to describe every process that occurs to keep humans alive. One process involved is converting food into energy. Cardio revs up this conversion by forcing cells to keep up with the demands of the muscles being worked. This causes more calories to be burned resulting in better weight management
Hormone profile benefits from cardiovascular training as well. Many know that exercise causes endorphins to be released into the body and endorphins promote that happy feeling but getting your heart rate up does much more. When a person performs cardiovascular exercise the release of hunger-stimulating hormones is lowered. Some experts even believe that exercise, like cardio, can suppress hunger by getting one’s mind off of food.
Overall, cardiovascular exercise is any physical activity that puts your heart and respiratory system in full gear. This type of exercise offers so much variety, is so easy to do and the benefits are endless. It’s not too late to start. Get moving!