Before we get to the importance of cardiovascular fitness, it’s important to first understand what it really is. Cardiovascular exercises are often used interchangeably with aerobic exercise and they have two sides to them: heart and muscle.
Improved cardiovascular fitness means that your heart and lungs have an increased ability to supply more oxygen in the blood to your muscles. In addition, it also boosts your muscle’s ability to utilize the oxygen, thereby boosting metabolism and providing an adequate energy supply to fuel movement.
Aerobic exercise and cardiovascular fitness
Aerobic or cardio exercise is defined as any type of continuous and rhythmic activity that employs multiple major muscle groups in the body, simultaneously. It challenges your lungs and heart and encourages them to perform better. One of the most well-known factors associated with aerobic exercise is that it elevates your heart rate and breathing. Some examples of cardio exercises include running/jogging, brisk walking, rowing, spinning, cycling, swimming, dance, skating, skiing, jump rope and hiking.
Making cardio exercises and integral part of your fitness regimen is not only essential for a fabulous body but also for increased positivity, strength, coordination, endurance, flexibility, happiness and much more. Keep reading to find out some of our favorite benefits linked to regular cardiovascular training:
1. Healthy weight
The food you eat and the stored energy (including fat) in your body are used as fuel during your workouts. The more intense the cardio workout is, the more calories you will burn and the more fat you will melt. Cardio exercises also boost muscle tone, increasing your basal metabolic rate and helping you torch more calories even during rest.
2. Improved immunity
A University of Illinois study showed that cardio exercises had a positive impact on the immunity of the elderly . In addition, research also shows that it may help manage symptoms of AIDS too.
Aerobic exercises such as running increase the release of feel good hormones in your body such as endorphins and dopamine. These play a massive role in beating fatigue, anxiety, stress and depression . They also help curb your appetite.
4. Faster recovery
Cardio exercises can help improve your recovery time too. Going for a light jog or swim can help eliminate some of the by-products of an intense workout done earlier, such as high intensity interval training (HIIT), thus helping your reduce delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS). This will help you get back to working out much quicker .
5. Reduced risk of disease
Regular cardio training can help enhance cardiovascular endurance and reduce risk of many chronic and potentially life-threatening illnesses. Some of the most common ones include type-2 diabetes, heart disease, certain cancers such as lung, colorectal and breast cancer, osteoporosis, obesity and more.
According to the American College of Sports Medicine, higher cardiovascular fitness levels could slash one’s risk of cardiovascular disease by half ! In addition, cardio helps improve your insulin sensitivity, thereby reducing your risk of type-2 diabetes and helping you manage it better if you already have it .
At Thailand Fitness Bootcamp, we can’t get enough of the happy hormones from all the running, hiking, indoor cardio and other forms of heart-healthy exercises! We also advocate strength training to maximize your body’s physical and mental potential and boost your overall health and wellbeing.
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4. The effect of 8 weeks aerobic exercise on insulin resistance in type 2 diabetes: a randomized clinical trial. Glob J Health Sci. 2014 Aug 14;7(1):115-21. doi: 10.5539/gjhs.v7n1p115.