Cardiovascular exercise, also known as endurance or aerobic exercise, is any activity that raises the heart rate and keeps it up for a prolonged period. It also increases respiration, promotes blood flow to various body parts, and increases oxygen delivery throughout the body while using the large muscles in your arms and legs repetitively and rhythmically. Let’s further explore the Benefits of Cardiovascular Exercise!
Examples of cardiovascular exercise include brisk walking, swimming, cycling, and running.
The American Heart Association recommends 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise per week, or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity per week, or a combination of the two spread throughout the week.
Benefits of Cardiovascular Exercise
1. Promoting cardiovascular health
A cardiovascular exercise challenges the heart to get more active, strengthening its muscles and promoting efficient pumping of blood throughout the body.
It also helps reduce (LDL) bad cholesterol in the blood while increasing the good cholesterol, leading to low blood pressure and reduced risk for cardiovascular conditions like heart disease. See How To Prevent Heart Disease?
2. Aiding weight loss
Cardiovascular exercises can be a great addition to your weight loss journey if looking to lose weight.
In a 2013 study, participating in cardiovascular exercises such as walking, jogging, and treadmill 5 times a week for 10 months resulted in a significant weight loss without any dietary changes.
However, losing weight and being healthy are two different things, and I guess you want both. So don’t just look at the weight loss aspect of it, because you’re going to need healthy practices, including eating a healthy diet, to not only lose the weight but also stay healthy. What you eat and how you generally live your life can affect your weight and your health overall. See The Best Diet For Weight Loss.
3. Strengthening the immune system
A strong immune system is essential to help you recover from an illness, protect you from seasonal colds and flu, detect and fight infection, promote restful sleep and reduce fatigue.
In one study, researchers examined the effects of exercise on the immune system of sedentary and active women. The women were grouped into three groups where one exercised on a treadmill for 30 minutes, another engaged in a burst of intense activities for 30 minutes, and the last group did not exercise.
The participants had their blood samples taken before, after, and throughout the study.
Results showed that regular and moderate aerobic activities increased the immune system by increasing immunoglobulins.
However, the sedentary group didn’t show any promising results and at the same time, their stress hormone cortisol was shown to be higher than the other groups.
Exercise also increases blood flow to the lymph and increases the circulation of immune cells throughout the body and in high numbers. It primarily promotes 2 highly specialized immune cells: the natural killer cells and T cells which help fight pathogens.
Further research shows that engaging in aerobic exercise at least 5 times a week over 12 weeks lowers the risk of contracting an upper respiratory tract infection by 40 percent. See How To Boost Your Immune System?.
4. Promoting brain function
Aerobic activity increases blood flow to the brain. This has a physiological effect and may help promote cognitive functions.
Aerobic exercise may also promote brain growth, which is beneficial in maintaining or improving cognitive performance, mainly because you start losing your brain tissues once you hit 30.
Cardiovascular activities can also increase glucose metabolism in the brain, promote information processing, improve memory and learning, and support healthy brain aging. Also, check out Vegan Brain Booster Foods.
5. Preventing inflammation
Today’s most chronic conditions started as an inflammation that ended up repeatedly occurring, creating a conducive environment for a disease to develop. That’s why reducing your inflammatory markers is very important if you want to stay healthy.
Research shows that regular cardiovascular exercises for at least 20 minutes daily can lower these markers. Also check out, The Top Ten Plant-Based Anti-Inflammatory Super Foods.
6. Boosting mood
Exercise is a natural mood booster and can profoundly benefit anxiety, depression, and ADHD. When you engage in aerobic activities, your body produces hormones and other chemical messengers like endorphins which are natural mood boosters.
A study involving patients with major depressive disorder walked on a treadmill in an interval pattern for 30 minutes every day for 10 days. At the end of the study, their depression scores had reduced. This shows that any moment spent exercising can significantly contribute to a better mood.
Exercise can also regulate and reset your internal clock, helping you sleep better. And if you sleep better, you’ll definitely be in a good mood. Also See, Tips For Better Mental Health.
7. Regulating blood glucose
Engaging in moderately-intense cardiovascular activities such as walking, swimming, or jogging, causes you to breathe harder and your heart to beat faster. This also causes your muscle to use more glucose as a source of energy, and over time, this may increase glucose uptake into the cells, helping you maintain healthy blood glucose levels.
However, these benefits may vary depending on the intensity and duration of the exercise. See also Best Foods To Lower And Regulate Blood Sugar.
8. Aiding better sleep
In a study to assess the effects of aerobic exercise on sleep quality in older adults with chronic insomnia, researchers found that regular cardiovascular exercise can promote better sleep, boost mood, and improve the general quality of life in older adults.
But take note that exercising less than 2 hours to bedtime may make it difficult for you to fall asleep. Also See, How To Get Better Sleep?
9. It’s safe for most people
Cardiovascular exercises like walking, cycling, or jogging are among the best activities for people of all ages, including the old and those with chronic conditions.
Cardiovascular exercise is a workout that increases your heart rate and increases oxygenated blood flow throughout the body.
This offers numerous health benefits, including promoting cardiovascular health, aiding weight loss, preventing inflammation, promoting better sleep, regulating blood glucose, and promoting brain function.
To benefit from this exercise, experts recommend aiming at 150 minutes of moderate activity per week, or 30 minutes a day for at least 5 days a week.
Always start slow and keep building your fitness journey. Also, keep in mind that consistency is key to experiencing the potential benefits.
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