The Many Benefits of Cardio Exercise

Cardiovascular exercise, also known as cardio, is crucial to receive optimal results in any fitness plan. While cardio is why many of you come to to receive discounts on the top of the line NordicTrack cardio exercise machines, others are not as smart and by pass their cardio workouts entirely.

Often times these are the ones looking to build muscle and add strength, yet even they still need to be incorporating cardio into their workout regimens to receive the best possible outcomes from their workout, which you can read more about in Weight Training VS Cardio For Optimal Fat Loss. As we stated above, cardio is crucial to ANY fitness plan if you are looking wanting to receive optimal results quicker.

While you may be able to build strength without cardio, you will never be able to be as toned as you may wish without first shredding that excess body fat with cardio, which you can read more about in Uncover Your Six-Pack with the Treadmill. Yet cardio not only rids your body of excess fat, but has so many other internal benefits you may be missing out on if you limit, or worse, bypass your cardio altogether.

Shape Magazine came up with The Awesome Benefits of Cardio that we thought we’d share with our readers who may still be unsure of why you need cardio, or to share with your friends who may be unsure:

Cardio on the Heart – The moment you begin your cardio workout, whether it be running on the treadmill or participating in a Zumba class, your heart will progressively start to beat faster. The faster your heart beats the more blood being pumped out with each squeeze. Shape Magazine states “the stronger your heart, the more blood it pumps when it contracts, which in turn lowers your resting heart rate – that way, it doesn’t have to work as hard when you’re not exercising.” A stronger, fitter heart equals a healthier body overall.

Cardio Benefits on the Heart

Cardio on the Lungs– In order for your muscles to convert carbs and fat into fuel they must have oxygen. “The harder you go, the more oxygen is takes to remove carbon dioxide, a waste product make by muscles.” You now start breathing faster to get more air, yet this is a good thing because it causes you to burn off calories in the process of your body having to work harder.

Cardio on the Fat Cells– In the longer low-intensity workout sessions your body uses more fat than carbs. “Clocking long sessions is key because at takes longer than carbs to break down. But doing them is worth it – fat has 9 calories per gram, and carbs have 4.” Burning fat also requires more oxygen, so Shape recommends keeping your breath nice and easy during your long sessions to allow your body enough oxygen.

Walking on an incline is also going to help you to burn more calories, thus more fat cells, due to the fact it recruits more muscles during your workout. Do your workout on the NordicTrack Incline Trainer X7i that inclines up to a remarkable 40% to get an even higher calorie burn!

Cardio on the Muscles – now for your body builders looking to strictly build your muscles, they too need cardio to improve. For those of you looking to build muscles, you should not be doing the longer, lower-intensity workouts we previously mentioned that burn more fat cells. These fat cells may be coming from the muscle and can decrease your muscle mass, but not all cardio is going to do this. recommends you should be doing high-intensity cardio instead as “to reap the benefits of traditional cardio without sacrificing muscle mass…high-intensity cardio workouts support heart and circulatory health so muscles have better and more efficient blood supplies.” They also went on to explain that the hormones released during high-intensity cardio actually assist muscle growth and enhance performance. As you can see your muscles need this added blood flow in order to grow and maintain their mass.

Cardio on the Brain – I’m sure we’ve all heard of the famous ‘runner’s high’ many people experience after their long runs, yet this feeling can come with any semi-intense workout, not just running. During your workouts your “brain delivers feel-good endorphins to help ease the ouch of an all-out workout.” Dopamine is also released during and after your more intense workouts that result in a happier, more relaxed mood.

Cardio Benefits on the Brain

As you can see no matter what your fitness goal may be, building muscle, weight loss or purely improved health, cardio is going to benefit you in so many ways. Be sure to add it to your fitness regimen to receive optimal results!



Do you include cardio into your weekly fitness regimen?

What is your favorite way to incorporate cardio into your workout plan?