Exercise can seem like a luxury when your schedule is already packed with appointments. If you work at a desk and lead a largely sedentary lifestyle, then you only need enough exercise to stay relatively healthy. Right? This view makes sense on the surface, but when you consider the mental and emotional benefits of regular exercise it becomes clear that it’s not just about running faster or jumping higher.
Whether you’re hopping on your exercise bike for a quick cruise or running a local trail three times a week, cardiovascular activity offers tremendous benefits.
Perhaps the greatest boon for people who do cardio workouts is heightened energy levels. It’s not just athletes who experience an increase in stamina with regular exercise, either. Cardiovascular activity improves focus and attention, so that you can be more “in the zone” whether you work with your hands, in a cubicle, or on the playing field.
You’ve likely heard the saying, “work smarter, not harder.” By the same token, exercise and proper diet are more about living better than living longer. Even if you don’t add a single day to your lifespan, you are still investing your time wisely by taking a few minutes to pedal your personal exercise bike or jog at the gym. You are improving how your body absorbs and utilizes oxygen and stores energy. Cardio allows you to stay fit and fast; not just in physical activity, but in every area of life.
According to the Center for Disease Control, cardio routines can increase mental health and well-being. A gym membership provides a sense of purpose to the day, giving you an excuse to go hang out with other people and a linear and easy-to-track path of progress to walk. An at-home workout routine that incorporates cardio and strength training can be just as beneficial.
When you see your physical appearance and energy levels improving every day, it boosts self-esteem. The feeling becomes addictive (in a positive way). It’s true that you can get hooked on exercise. You may start seeing results immediately after a great workout, and from there you’ll want to keep going back. This feeling of growth really helps you move forward, and makes it easy to go back to the gym a few times a week or to hit the street in your new tennis shoes.
No matter what type of exercise you’re doing, it’s important to integrate cardiovascular activity as part of your workout routine. Body builders, for instance, have a hard time adding bulk if they don’t have a strong cardio workout to compliment their weightlifting regime. By improving the way that your body transports blood from place to place, you can gain higher energy levels as well as increased physical strength. Improve digestion and even help your body to fight off illness by remaining physically strong and healthy through exercise.
It’s no wonder that cardio has become a priority in American fitness programs. Whether you are doing it for the physical benefits, the mental benefits, or both, you can bet you’ll feel better if you hop on a treadmill or exercise bike a few times a week.