The Benefits of Cardio


Depending who you are, you probably either love cardio or hate cardio. There never seems to be a middle group. When someone brings up the word cardio, it’s generally assumed that they are using it as a tool for fat loss. While cardio can be a great tool for increasing energy expenditure and thus increasing fat loss, there are also numerous benefits cardio provides us with that are often overlooked.

What is cardio to begin with?

Maybe I jumped the gun. Maybe you are unaware of what cardio is and stands for. I apologize for that, so please, let me explain. Cardio is short for cardiovascular training and in essence, cardio seeks to improve cardiovascular fitness or to improve the ability of the heart to pump oxygen-rich blood to the muscles.

That’s great but why is it important?

Cardiovascular training plays an important role in health and performance. Even though it’s mostly used as means to increase energy expenditure and to lose weight, cardio can provide a lot of benefits to keep your healthy!

Here are some of the benefits that cardio can provide you:

  • Increased cardiac output
  • Increased oxygen uptake
  • Increased blood flow to active muscles
  • Decreased sub-maximal respiratory rate
  • Increased blood volume
  • Improved thermoregulation
  • Increased mitochondrial size and density
  • Increased oxidative enzyme concentrations
  • Increased capillarization in muscle bed
  • Lower rate of all-cause mortality
  • Lower rate of cardiovascular disease
  • Lower incidence of type 2 diabetes
  • Lower rate of total body fat
  • Lower rate of colon cancer
  • Lower rate of breast cancer
  • Lower rate of osteoporosis

And the best part about all of this is, is that you do not have to perform a lot of cardio to obtain these health benefits. You can get the benefits listed above by expending as little as 150 calories per day and 20 minutes of cardio training, 3 times per week can maintain cardiovascular fitness levels.

So, how do I go about doing cardio?

There are many different ways that you can improve your cardiovascular fitness and perform cardio training. No matter who you are or what your current level of fitness is, you can find a cardio program that fits your skill level. For example, if you are beginner perhaps walking or cycling will be your cardio method of choice. If you are more advanced or your cardiovascular fitness has improved, perhaps it’s time to consider running or swimming. Ultimately, the choice is yours and any form of cardio training will give you the benefits described above.

Here are some simple examples:

  • Walking
  • Jogging
  • Running
  • Swimming
  • Cycling
  • Jumping Rope
  • Climbing Stairs
  • Rowing

Great! I guess it’s time to get to it!

That’s right! Cardio training, as you have learned, has a lot of benefits outside of fat loss. So, the next time someone suggests that you incorporate cardio into your routine, think of all of the positive health benefits that you will be receiving for adhering to it.