There is always a consideration for cardio and for a lot of good reasons. Most people know that doing cardio is a great way to slim down because you can easily burn excess calories and thus fat. The general medical consensus is that people should do anywhere from an hour to two and a half hours of cardiovascular activity per week for general health reasons.
But do you really need it?
Unless you have some sort of job that incorporates a lot of continuous walking then yes you do!
Benefits of Cardio
- Healthy Heart – You can reduce the risk of heart disease
- Stronger Heart and Lungs – Cardiovascular conditioning increases both of these areas of the body
- Weight Loss – This affects so many things from how you feel about yourself and relieving things like depression
- General Health – Regular exercise promotes more energy, better sleep, and a more positive outlook as well as stress release from the output of energy
Sure, weight loss is a really nice aspect of all that, but there is so much more in the list. Really our bodies are meant to be used. Often I compare the human body to a machine. It needs to be taken care of (with nutrition and exercise) to run well. If you let it sit around then it gets dusty and sludge builds up in the engine.
To many of us involved in fitness, cardio just becomes part of our daily routine. It is like brushing your teeth, doing laundry, or cleaning the house. Yes it can be a chore sometimes, but other times there is some enjoyment and satisfaction from doing the job. I enjoy being in shape; I enjoy a clean house. Once you have adapted this mindset then cardio becomes more pleasurable. The trick is finding ways to add cardio to your week that you find really pleasant.
Types of Cardio
- Machines at the Gym – Basic options like the treadmill, elliptical, stationary bike, or stair climber are always nice options and convenient.
- Classes – This is always great option because doing something in a class is typically more motivating and social. You have a harder time quitting on a group and there are a lot of different types of classes.
- Walking/Running – This is so easy to do because you can typically do it anywhere at any time. Plus the added benefits of being outside with fresh air and sunlight are very nice.
- Cycling – Much like running this is a great activity that can be done to enjoy being outside. Also it makes a great group activity.
- Hiking – This is an underappreciated cardio activity, hiking is nice because of change of pace from flat to hills.
- Sports – Basketball, tennis, or soccer are all great sports than involve a lot of running. Plus team sports have a added social benefit.
Really it doesn’t matter what you are doing as long as you are doing it regularly. Personally I mix things up frequently with hiking, mountain biking, or running with people when time and the weather permits. But when those activities aren’t available then I always have the gym and cardio machines to fall back on. The variety helps keeps my enthusiasm high along with my weight low plus all the additional benefits.