Cardio. The word that makes many people cringe. Some avoid it altogether, but what exactly is cardio and how can you learn to like it long enough to get some benefits out of it?
What It Really Does
Cardio is another way to think about exercise that uses endurance to strengthen your heart and accompanying systems like your lungs, vessels, etc. Good cardio should make your heart pump and reach at least 50-70% of your ultimate max. Your ultimate max is roughly determined by subtracting your age from 220. Exact numbers may vary due to health related conditions and other factors. All in all, cardio is the at the top of the fitness food chain as far as what’s best.
Most people think cardio only works for those who are avid runners, but you don’t have to be one of those people out running at 8 am. Cardio can be helpful in smaller, more manageable ways like taking the stairs to the office instead of the elevator or parking far away and lightly jogging in. The benefits? There are so many we can’t count them all. However, regular cardio has been linked to improved sleep, brain function, heart health and overall feeling of fitness. And even small benefits are better than nothing when it comes to working out. This stuff is hard, and it’s meant to be so don’t be discouraged to see fluctuating or slow results. Your body wasn’t built in a day.
Not ready to dive into cardio? You’re not alone! Consider these easy day-to-day activities before swearing it off altogether. You’ll be amazed to see what happens if you simply give it a few minutes of your time.
Try This, Not That:
-60 seconds of jumping jacks instead of Squats
-60-90 seconds of jump rope instead of running stairs
-step ups(small and as many as you can handle) instead of side lunges
-jogging in place for 60 or more seconds instead of a long, arduous run
Just be sure to remember that any physical activity should take into account your current fitness level, comfortability, and limits. You can always start small and work your way up whereas if you do too much you may end up injured, so please be careful!