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7 Reasons to Embrace Cardio

Cardio is any form of exercise that raises your pulse and conditions your heart, but it’s been proven to be just as important for your head. Here are seven reasons you should get moving every day.

1. A Better Brain

Cardio increases blood flow to the brain. It decreases the chance of stroke, improves memory and thinking, and helps combat decline in brain functioning with age. Aerobic exercise also increases the size of the hippocampus, the part of the brain key to verbal memory and learning.

See the best foods for brain health.

2. A Healthier Heart

Regular cardio exercise strengthens the heart muscle and can reverse some risk factors for heart disease.

Try battle ropes to really get your heart rate up.

3. Weight Loss and Weight Maintenance

Cardio burns calories and fat, helping you maintain a healthy weight. It also improves metabolic health, so you burn more calories throughout the day.

Find out why your metabolism is a slug.

4. Bone and Joint Health

Weight-bearing exercises like running help strengthen bones. Moving the joints maintains range of motion and helps manage arthritis pain.

Learn five ways to make running more fun.

5. Healthier Lungs

Heavier breathing is a hallmark of cardio. Working the lungs eventually helps decrease demands on the organs and reduces fatigue and shortness of breath in those with chronic lung problems.

Take a few deep breaths when you feel stressed.

6. Better Blood

Exercise helps lower blood sugar and raise good cholesterol.

Get the truth about cholesterol.

7. Improved Mood/Less Stress and Anxiety

By releasing tension-fighting hormones such as serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine, cardio boosts mood, combats depression, and improves self-esteem.

Read about more ways to manage anxiety without meds.

Hannah Moses is a contributing writer for Orangetheory Fitness, a chain of fitness studios specializing in high-intensity workouts.

Photo: Rusian Dashinsky

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