5 Major Benefits of Boosting Your Cardio, According to Science – Eat This, Not That

If you enjoy activities like walking your dog or going for a bike ride, then guess what? These are all forms of aerobic, or “cardio” exercise. “Almost any movement can be considered cardiovascular exercise if it gets your heart rate up and your blood pumping,” says Susan Bentley, CPT, trainer and group fitness instructor at 24-hour fitness in Folsom, CA. “This is usually done through repetitive, rhythmic movements that incorporate large muscle groups like the legs or back. Of course, traditional things like running, rowing, or a yoga class qualify, but so does even for activities like playing tag with your kids and climbing the stairs in your house, she says.

Generally speaking, when done consistently (a minimum of 2h30 per week for adults), aerobic exercise can improve many systems in our body to keep us healthy. “This includes our cardiovascular, respiratory, and circulatory systems,” Bentley says. “These benefits have a ripple effect that can gradually make a significant difference to your overall well-being.” Read on to learn more about some of the ways cardio can improve your health, according to Bentley and scientific researchers.

(It’s important to note that if you have any medical conditions you should talk to your doctor before starting any cardiovascular exercise routine. Once you get the hang of it, Bentley advises you to start slowly and take breaks at need.” If you’re not sure how to start your fitness journey, go to a gym like 24 Hour Fitness,” says Bentley. “Fitness professionals can point you in the right direction, help you explore cardio equipment and a wide variety of fun group fitness classes.”)

Then be sure to check out The 6 Best Exercises for Strong, Toned Arms in 2022, the trainer says.


Although your brain won’t be lifting heavy weights while you’re using the elliptical or salsa during a dance cardio class, it does provide a ton of benefits. “All forms of exercise, including cardio, can trigger new blood vessel growth in the brain, which can improve memory and prevent cognitive decline. Exercise can also [make] the seahorse [be greater in size]which is responsible for learning and memory,” says Bentley. And when you look specifically at the science around brain health and cardio, there’s a ton backing up Bentley’s points, and more. To start, consider this to study from Germany who discovered that better cardiorespiratory fitness is linked to a higher volume of gray matter, which is the outermost layer of the brain. It plays a role in many motor and cognitive functions, including memory.

More impressively, however, researchers have found that cardio can help stave off dementia. One Neurology to study of more than 1,000 women found that those who were in “high cardiovascular fitness” in middle age were about 88% less likely to develop dementia than their peers who were only in “average fitness”. Although this study only looked at women, other research showed similar results.

Related: Two major benefits of running just 10 minutes a day, new study finds

woman over 40 wearing pink hat and jacket runs on the beach

CVD is “the leading cause of deathIn the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it is therefore beneficial to know that cardiovascular exercise helps prevent cardiovascular disease.

Although any form of physical activity can protect us from CVD, a to study Posted in The American Journal of Cardiology concluded that aerobic training is the most effective type of exercise for improving metabolic syndrome-related health problems. According to Bentley, to reap the benefits, find an aerobic workout you enjoy and commit to it at least twice a week. “Being consistent trains the heart to become more efficient. With each workout, the heart gets better at pumping oxygenated blood to our muscles and organs. It also works better with the respiratory system to transfer carbon dioxide and vital oxygen,” Bentley explains. “Over time, this lowers your resting heart rate and breathing rate, improving cardiovascular health.”

Related: What “plogging” does to your body makes it such an effective workout

man running on a treadmill at home

To be clear, no form of exercise can magically ward off a cold or keep you away from COVID-19 or any other illness. But aerobic exercise can help boost the immune system so it’s ready to fight germs when they invade. One to studyfor example, found that exercising at regular to moderate levels has positive effects on your immune system through higher levels of immunoglobulins, which are key factors in protecting your body against viruses and bacteria .

happy woman running winter

The next time you’re feeling stressed or anxious, resist the urge to binge on Netflix and consider doing some cardio instead. “Cardio is easy, fun, mood-boosting, and has mental health benefits by [decreasing] levels of stress hormones like cortisol and adrenaline,” says Bentley. “Aerobic exercise also increases blood flow and oxygen, which are other factors that could help us feel better.

Research has led to our understanding of the connection between mood and cardio, as this study of 1.2 million people. After analyzing the numbers, the researchers found that, on average, regular exercisers had 1.5 fewer days of “poor mental health” compared to non-athletes, with those who did aerobic workouts garnering the most advantages.

Moreover, this to study in the review Menopause examined data from pre- and post-menopausal women. Those who did more physical activity through things like yard work, walking, and bicycling scored higher on positivity measures and lower on depressive symptom scales than women who did less. of exercise.

An elderly woman relaxes listening to music with a phone after jogging in the forest.  Fit Lifestyle Mature People Outdoor Workout.

Impressive, right? To research shows that those who follow Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans (at least 2.5 hours of moderate-intensity cardio) have a significantly reduced risk of death from any cause. This makes sense, given that aerobic exercise can reduce the risk of developing conditions that at the top of the list of morbidityincluding Cancer and heart disease.

The Bottom Line: Even if it’s only 10 or 15 minutes a day, it’s definitely worth the time to do some cardio. Your future self will thank you!

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