Photo by Van Den Heuvel
When it comes to the gym, cardio seems to be one of the most overlooked portions of exercise, when it is in fact one of the most required. A common misconceptions about exercise is that cardio is just for losing weight. This is in fact false. Cardio helps to improve stamina, heart health, and over all performance. People of all ages should practice cardiovascular exercise in a way that works for them.
So what does cardio actually mean? Cardio is short for cardiovascular, which is the circulatory system in the human body. It focuses on strength and endurance and is practiced by keeping the heart rate elevated for longer periods of time. The goal is to keep your heart rate at about 50-70 percent of your maximum rate. Exercises like running, swimming, cycling and team sports like soccer are all forms of cardiovascular exercise.
Don’t forget the heart is a muscle, and needs to be exercised like everything else. Strengthening the heart can improve health and increase life span. Cardio also helps to ease depression and anxiety as the heart pumps blood and oxygen around the body faster. This helps the body and ergo the mind to feel more relaxed after a work out. It can even help to improve your sleep pattern.
So really the only people who shouldn’t do cardio are those who suffer from a heart condition that restricts them from doing so, however practicing cardiovascular exercise can help prevent these very problems. Regardless of your size or weight, cardio helps to better your health over all. And don’t forget, a little bit of cardio a day helps keep the doctor at bay.