There are many benefits of cardio training, and in this post we will break down the very basic benefits and also discuss a few basic cardio exercises which we can all do on a regular basis!
Cardio training is the oldest form of training in the world and whether you know it or not, most of you perform some form of cardio exercise on a daily basis.
Think running and walking?
Yes, walking is a form of cardio exercise that some of us perform on a daily basis, and which most people probably don’t do enough of.
Nowadays we have access to whatever we want at the touch of button.
Long gone are days in the Western world of walking or running to collect your food and water, or even walking to and from work.
I assume most of you have heard of Uber or Uber Eats?
Yes, your food gets delivered to your doorstep, at the touch of a button.
We have become extremely comfortable in our daily lives. One main drawback of this is that our physical and cardiovascular strength has taken a back seat.
The good news is that you can actually reap a few more benefits from cardio exercises by just implementing a few lifestyle changes.
There are different forms and types of aerobic or cardio exercises that we can implement in our lives on a daily and weekly basis. Doing this will not only make us fitter and stronger, but also to give us a better a quality of life.
In this article we will be focussing on the following basic cardio exercises:
But first, let’s get to some of the benefits of cardio.
Benefits Of Cardio On A Regular Basis
Doing aerobic exercises has many physical and mental health benefits.
Here are just a few.
#1: Improves Fitness Levels
Obvious one, right?
Simply put, regular aerobic exercise improves your cardiovascular fitness by increasing your capacity to use oxygen. It does this by increasing your heart’s capacity to send blood (and hence oxygen) to the muscles.
#2: Improves Blood Circulation
Frequent cardio exercise decreases your chances of heart disease and lowers your blood pressure.
The Harvard School Of Public Health has stated that just 30 minutes of light aerobic exercise a day will decrease your chance of a stroke by 20%, and up to 40% if you increase the intensity of the exercises.
#3: Helps with Weight Loss
A fast paced 30 minute walk, a long swim or even a short 20 minute run a day can burn a decent amount of calories. If you just make an effort to try and move as much as possible, you’ll burn off some unwanted weight!
#4: Makes You Feel Happier
Aerobic exercises releases endorphins to the body. This in turn makes us feel better and happier!
In short, frequent exercise will make you happier.
#5: Improves Your Breathing
When doing cardio exercises, your breathing rate increases which causes oxygen to travel faster through your bloodstream.
This in turn helps eliminate waste products, increases energy levels and improves healing.
#6: Increases Joint Strength
Movement and compression from aerobic exercise brings in oxygen to the joints, which increases the level of nutrients in the joint area.
#7: Improves Mobility
People who do aerobic exercises (especially walking) and move a lot will reap the benefits more at a later stage in life.
A lot of old people who are able to still do everyday tasks can do so thanks to having always been on the move throughout their lives.
Don’t be a fool, start while you young and keep moving!
#8: Decreases Stress Levels
Have you ever had a stressful day and then gone for a run, walk or swim and then realized you immediately felt better?
Aerobic exercises helps to ‘clear the mind’ as one would say.
It increases blood flow to your muscles and organs and immediately helps you feel better.
5 Everyday Cardio Exercises
So now that you know the benefits of doing aerobic exercises, let’s get to the different forms of aerobic exercises that you can and should implement into your daily lives.
Let’s start with the easiest one of the lot, walking.
Walking on a daily basis has so many benefits. So much so that you really need to make an effort to have walking as part of your daily lives.
Instead of taking the bus and train to and from work, gym and the supermarket, you can rather walk (especially if you live close to work).
Last year, I set myself a daily goal of walking 10,000 steps which sounded like a lot at first, but it really wasn’t especially once I started implementing the above.
Walking is one of the simplest and most available cardio exercises around. And it’s 100% free.
So if you are fit and able, then you have no excuses to be lazy and not to walk.
You just need to make a few small changes. Next time you are about to take the elevator to the third floor, make an effort to rather use the stairs!
I recently read an article where an old man said that he wished he had run more when he was younger because now that he is old, he can’t run anymore and regrets not using his legs more in his youth.
When you come to think of it, running and using our legs is an awesome human ability which we shouldn’t take for granted.
My favourite forms of running are doing short hill sprints (500-800m of incline speed work), stair running and trail running in the mountains.
I generally never run more than 5km as I prefer doing short, sharp training sessions to get my heart rate high and burn calories.
Living on the Mediterranean Sea, I have come to love swimming as a form of exercise.
Swimming is soft on your joints, is a full body workout and a great form of recovery from bodyweight training.
Is there anything better than going for a swim in the ocean and being surrounded by school of colourful fish?
I think not!
If you have previously done yoga and have never broken a sweat or got your heart rate high, then you probably haven’t done a proper yoga session!
Yoga is foremost a great form of movement and aerobic exercise.
It also doubles up as a great form of strength training and with its combination of breathwork between sequences, it is also a really great form of meditation.
With yoga training, you really kill three birds with one stone (cardio exercise, strength training and meditation).
Give it a try, it’s really an awesome way of exercising!
You may think that hiking and walking are the same thing. This is true, to a certain extent.
In number one above, I use walking as a way to be incorporated into your daily life. Walking to work, to the gym, to the nearest shop etc.
Hiking on the other hand, is an aerobic activity which combines walking in nature, mountains or anywhere outdoors for extended period of time.
Hiking is filled with inclines and declines that is bound to not only get you moving, but also to give you an aerobic workout.
It’s also a good way to escape the city life and get some fresh, mountain air into your lungs!
Aerobic exercises do not have to last more 20 to 30 minutes in order for you to get a good workout and to get your heart rate sky high.
It has been said that 75 minutes of intense cardio training or 150 minutes of moderate cardio training is enough exercise for a week.
Surely you can slice out 150 minutes a week to improve your health?
Always remember, your body is your vehicle that drives you through life – a healthy body leads to a healthy mind.