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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 January 21, 2020

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

Creating a vision for your life might seem like a frivolous, fantastical waste of time, but it’s not: creating a compelling vision of the life you want is actually one of the most effective strategies for achieving the life of your dreams. Perhaps the best way to look at the concept of a life vision is as a compass to help guide you to take the best actions and make the right choices that help propel you toward your best life.

your vision of where or who you want to be is the greatest asset you have

    Why You Need a Vision

    Experts and life success stories support the idea that with a vision in mind, you are more likely to succeed far beyond what you could otherwise achieve without a clear vision. Think of crafting your life vision as mapping a path to your personal and professional dreams. Life satisfaction and personal happiness are within reach. The harsh reality is that if you don’t develop your own vision, you’ll allow other people and circumstances to direct the course of your life.

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    How to Create Your Life Vision

    Don’t expect a clear and well-defined vision overnight—envisioning your life and determining the course you will follow requires time, and reflection. You need to cultivate vision and perspective, and you also need to apply logic and planning for the practical application of your vision. Your best vision blossoms from your dreams, hopes, and aspirations. It will resonate with your values and ideals, and will generate energy and enthusiasm to help strengthen your commitment to explore the possibilities of your life.

    What Do You Want?

    The question sounds deceptively simple, but it’s often the most difficult to answer. Allowing yourself to explore your deepest desires can be very frightening. You may also not think you have the time to consider something as fanciful as what you want out of life, but it’s important to remind yourself that a life of fulfillment does not usually happen by chance, but by design.

    It’s helpful to ask some thought-provoking questions to help you discover the possibilities of what you want out of life. Consider every aspect of your life, personal and professional, tangible and intangible. Contemplate all the important areas, family and friends, career and success, health and quality of life, spiritual connection and personal growth, and don’t forget about fun and enjoyment.

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    Some tips to guide you:

    • Remember to ask why you want certain things
    • Think about what you want, not on what you don’t want.
    • Give yourself permission to dream.
    • Be creative. Consider ideas that you never thought possible.
    • Focus on your wishes, not what others expect of you.

    Some questions to start your exploration:

    • What really matters to you in life? Not what should matter, what does matter.
    • What would you like to have more of in your life?
    • Set aside money for a moment; what do you want in your career?
    • What are your secret passions and dreams?
    • What would bring more joy and happiness into your life?
    • What do you want your relationships to be like?
    • What qualities would you like to develop?
    • What are your values? What issues do you care about?
    • What are your talents? What’s special about you?
    • What would you most like to accomplish?
    • What would legacy would you like to leave behind?

    It may be helpful to write your thoughts down in a journal or creative vision board if you’re the creative type. Add your own questions, and ask others what they want out of life. Relax and make this exercise fun. You may want to set your answers aside for a while and come back to them later to see if any have changed or if you have anything to add.

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    What Would Your Best Life Look Like?

    Describe your ideal life in detail. Allow yourself to dream and imagine, and create a vivid picture. If you can’t visualize a picture, focus on how your best life would feel. If you find it difficult to envision your life 20 or 30 years from now, start with five years—even a few years into the future will give you a place to start. What you see may surprise you. Set aside preconceived notions. This is your chance to dream and fantasize.

    A few prompts to get you started:

    • What will you have accomplished already?
    • How will you feel about yourself?
    • What kind of people are in your life? How do you feel about them?
    • What does your ideal day look like?
    • Where are you? Where do you live? Think specifics, what city, state, or country, type of community, house or an apartment, style and atmosphere.
    • What would you be doing?
    • Are you with another person, a group of people, or are you by yourself?
    • How are you dressed?
    • What’s your state of mind? Happy or sad? Contented or frustrated?
    • What does your physical body look like? How do you feel about that?
    • Does your best life make you smile and make your heart sing? If it doesn’t, dig deeper, dream bigger.

    It’s important to focus on the result, or at least a way-point in your life. Don’t think about the process for getting there yet—that’s the next stepGive yourself permission to revisit this vision every day, even if only for a few minutes. Keep your vision alive and in the front of your mind.

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    Plan Backwards

    It may sound counter-intuitive to plan backwards rather than forwards, but when you’re planning your life from the end result, it’s often more useful to consider the last step and work your way back to the first. This is actually a valuable and practical strategy for making your vision a reality.

    • What’s the last thing that would’ve had to happen to achieve your best life?
    • What’s the most important choice you would’ve had to make?
    • What would you have needed to learn along the way?
    • What important actions would you have had to take?
    • What beliefs would you have needed to change?
    • What habits or behaviors would you have had to cultivate?
    • What type of support would you have had to enlist?
    • How long will it have taken you to realize your best life?
    • What steps or milestones would you have needed to reach along the way?

    Now it’s time to think about your first step, and the next step after that. Ponder the gap between where you are now and where you want to be in the future. It may seem impossible, but it’s quite achievable if you take it step-by-step.

    It’s important to revisit this vision from time to time. Don’t be surprised if your answers to the questions, your technicolor vision, and the resulting plans change. That can actually be a very good thing; as you change in unforeseeable ways, the best life you envision will change as well. For now, it’s important to use the process, create your vision, and take the first step towards making that vision a reality.

    Featured photo credit: Matt Noble via unsplash.com

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