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.
2. A Healthier Heart
Regular cardio exercise strengthens the heart muscle and can reverse some risk factors for heart disease.
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.
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.
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.
6. Better Blood
Exercise helps lower blood sugar and raise good 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.
Hannah Moses is a contributing writer for Orangetheory Fitness, a chain of fitness studios specializing in high-intensity workouts.