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Here’s Why Cardio Exercises Are So Good For Your Health

Here’s Why Cardio Exercises Are So Good For Your Health

You probably already know cardio exercises (in moderation) are good for you, but do you know why?

It’s easy to go from one workout to the next, never really stopping to think about why you bother taking the time to sweat, tone, and sweat some more. It turns out there are a lot more health benefits associated with consistent cardio workouts than you may have initially thought.

This article describes what will start to happen once you have done cardio regularly for 150 minutes of moderate exercise every week for an extended period of time. Here are 5 reasons why you should put forth the effort.

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1. You will have increased stamina

When you first started working out, you probably remember how hard it was to get through even half of your fitness routine in the beginning. However, as you kept up with that routine, each workout got a little easier, and you were able to get much more out of each session. This is because your stamina increased as you continued exerting energy.

Eventually, your body gets used to doing the work you ask it to do, which makes not only working out less difficult, but also tasks like yard-work and walking up stairs, much easier to endure.

2. You will have a stronger heart

Your heart works hard every day to continuously pump blood through your body, bringing oxygen to your muscles, and making sure you continue functioning like a healthy human being. The harder it has to work, the more you put yourself at risk for developing heart disease as you age

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Over time, regular cardio workouts can help to strengthen your heart, meaning it won’t have to work quite as hard to do its job well and keep you healthy. Cardio exercise helps decrease blood pressure, which just means you’re putting less stress on your cardiovascular system as a whole.

3. You will notice improved sleep patterns

Remember those 150 minutes of exercise per week we mentioned earlier? This amount of weekly activity can change the way you sleep, giving you enough alertness throughout the day to keep you productive no matter what’s on your agenda.

If you generally have trouble sleeping well at night, a consistent moderate cardio workout can help improve the quality of your sleep. While there’s no solid evidence supporting whether or not there’s a best time of day to workout, studies have shown those who keep up with their fitness regiments report improved sleep patterns.

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4. You will feel better, physically and mentally

With more energy, a stronger heart, and better sleep, there’s seemingly no end to all the ways cardio exercises are so good for you. There are more than just physical benefits to cardio, though – your brain also gets something out of it.

Engaging in regular physical activity not only makes you feel physically fit, but can also help improve your mood, help you manage daily stress, and help your ability to concentrate. Whether you start or end your day with cardio, you can be certain you’ll have a much better outlook on the days that will follow.

5. You will decrease your risk for developing chronic disease

Cardio (short for cardiovascular, or heart) workouts do much more than decrease your risk for developing heart problems. Doing cardio exercises multiple times a week can also minimizes depression symptoms and decreases your risk of developing diabetes, stomach problems, and certain types of cancers.

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Conclusion

Humans were not meant to be sedentary. The lack of physical activity over time is a major contributor to many of the leading causes of death in America. Cardio exercise benefits you not only in the short-term, but also the long-term, increasing your potential for living a longer and much healthier life.

Now, as you go through your cardio workouts, you don’t have to do it just because you know it’s the healthy thing to do. You know why it’s good for you, and might also be able to convince your friends to head to the gym with you next time.

Featured photo credit: E’Lisa Campbell via flickr.com

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Last Updated on September 16, 2019

How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

You have a deadline looming. However, instead of doing your work, you are fiddling with miscellaneous things like checking email, social media, watching videos, surfing blogs and forums. You know you should be working, but you just don’t feel like doing anything.

We are all familiar with the procrastination phenomenon. When we procrastinate, we squander away our free time and put off important tasks we should be doing them till it’s too late. And when it is indeed too late, we panic and wish we got started earlier.

The chronic procrastinators I know have spent years of their life looped in this cycle. Delaying, putting off things, slacking, hiding from work, facing work only when it’s unavoidable, then repeating this loop all over again. It’s a bad habit that eats us away and prevents us from achieving greater results in life.

Don’t let procrastination take over your life. Here, I will share my personal steps on how to stop procrastinating. These 11 steps will definitely apply to you too:

1. Break Your Work into Little Steps

Part of the reason why we procrastinate is because subconsciously, we find the work too overwhelming for us. Break it down into little parts, then focus on one part at the time. If you still procrastinate on the task after breaking it down, then break it down even further. Soon, your task will be so simple that you will be thinking “gee, this is so simple that I might as well just do it now!”.

For example, I’m currently writing a new book (on How to achieve anything in life). Book writing at its full scale is an enormous project and can be overwhelming. However, when I break it down into phases such as –

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  • (1) Research
  • (2) Deciding the topic
  • (3) Creating the outline
  • (4) Drafting the content
  • (5) Writing Chapters #1 to #10,
  • (6) Revision
  • (7) etc.

Suddenly it seems very manageable. What I do then is to focus on the immediate phase and get it done to my best ability, without thinking about the other phases. When it’s done, I move on to the next.

2. Change Your Environment

Different environments have different impact on our productivity. Look at your work desk and your room. Do they make you want to work or do they make you want to snuggle and sleep? If it’s the latter, you should look into changing your workspace.

One thing to note is that an environment that makes us feel inspired before may lose its effect after a period of time. If that’s the case, then it’s time to change things around. Refer to Steps #2 and #3 of 13 Strategies To Jumpstart Your Productivity, which talks about revamping your environment and workspace.

3. Create a Detailed Timeline with Specific Deadlines

Having just 1 deadline for your work is like an invitation to procrastinate. That’s because we get the impression that we have time and keep pushing everything back, until it’s too late.

Break down your project (see tip #1), then create an overall timeline with specific deadlines for each small task. This way, you know you have to finish each task by a certain date. Your timelines must be robust, too – i.e. if you don’t finish this by today, it’s going to jeopardize everything else you have planned after that. This way it creates the urgency to act.

My goals are broken down into monthly, weekly, right down to the daily task lists, and the list is a call to action that I must accomplish this by the specified date, else my goals will be put off.

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Here’re more tips on setting deadlines: 22 Tips for Effective Deadlines

4. Eliminate Your Procrastination Pit-Stops

If you are procrastinating a little too much, maybe that’s because you make it easy to procrastinate.

Identify your browser bookmarks that take up a lot of your time and shift them into a separate folder that is less accessible. Disable the automatic notification option in your email client. Get rid of the distractions around you.

I know some people will out of the way and delete or deactivate their facebook accounts. I think it’s a little drastic and extreme as addressing procrastination is more about being conscious of our actions than counteracting via self-binding methods, but if you feel that’s what’s needed, go for it.

5. Hang out with People Who Inspire You to Take Action

I’m pretty sure if you spend just 10 minutes talking to Steve Jobs or Bill Gates, you’ll be more inspired to act than if you spent the 10 minutes doing nothing. The people we are with influence our behaviors. Of course spending time with Steve Jobs or Bill Gates every day is probably not a feasible method, but the principle applies — The Hidden Power of Every Single Person Around You

Identify the people, friends or colleagues who trigger you – most likely the go-getters and hard workers – and hang out with them more often. Soon you will inculcate their drive and spirit too.

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As a personal development blogger, I “hang out” with inspiring personal development experts by reading their blogs and corresponding with them regularly via email and social media. It’s communication via new media and it works all the same.

6. Get a Buddy

Having a companion makes the whole process much more fun. Ideally, your buddy should be someone who has his/her own set of goals. Both of you will hold each other accountable to your goals and plans. While it’s not necessary for both of you to have the same goals, it’ll be even better if that’s the case, so you can learn from each other.

I have a good friend whom I talk to regularly, and we always ask each other about our goals and progress in achieving those goals. Needless to say, it spurs us to keep taking action.

7. Tell Others About Your Goals

This serves the same function as #6, on a larger scale. Tell all your friends, colleagues, acquaintances and family about your projects. Now whenever you see them, they are bound to ask you about your status on those projects.

For example, sometimes I announce my projects on The Personal Excellence Blog, Twitter and Facebook, and my readers will ask me about them on an ongoing basis. It’s a great way to keep myself accountable to my plans.

8. Seek out Someone Who Has Already Achieved the Outcome

What is it you want to accomplish here, and who are the people who have accomplished this already? Go seek them out and connect with them. Seeing living proof that your goals are very well achievable if you take action is one of the best triggers for action.

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9. Re-Clarify Your Goals

If you have been procrastinating for an extended period of time, it might reflect a misalignment between what you want and what you are currently doing. Often times, we outgrow our goals as we discover more about ourselves, but we don’t change our goals to reflect that.

Get away from your work (a short vacation will be good, else just a weekend break or staycation will do too) and take some time to regroup yourself. What exactly do you want to achieve? What should you do to get there? What are the steps to take? Does your current work align with that? If not, what can you do about it?

10. Stop Over-Complicating Things

Are you waiting for a perfect time to do this? That maybe now is not the best time because of X, Y, Z reasons? Ditch that thought because there’s never a perfect time. If you keep waiting for one, you are never going to accomplish anything.

Perfectionism is one of the biggest reasons for procrastination. Read more about why perfectionist tendencies can be a bane than a boon: Why Being A Perfectionist May Not Be So Perfect.

11. Get a Grip and Just Do It

At the end, it boils down to taking action. You can do all the strategizing, planning and hypothesizing, but if you don’t take action, nothing’s going to happen. Occasionally, I get readers and clients who keep complaining about their situations but they still refuse to take action at the end of the day.

Reality check:

I have never heard anyone procrastinate their way to success before and I doubt it’s going to change in the near future.  Whatever it is you are procrastinating on, if you want to get it done, you need to get a grip on yourself and do it.

More About Procrastination

Featured photo credit: Malvestida Magazine via unsplash.com

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