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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 July 10, 2020

How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

We all have them—those hurtful, frustrating, offensive, manipulative people in our lives. No matter how hard we try to surround ourselves with positive and kind people, there will always be those who will disrespect, insult, berate, and misuse you if we allow them to.

We may, for a variety of reasons, not be able to avoid them, but we can determine how we interact with them and how we allow them to interact with us.

So, how to take control of your life and stop being pushed around?

Learning to set clear firm boundaries with the people in our lives at work and in our personal lives is the best way to protect ourselves from the negative effects of this kind of behavior.

What Boundaries Are (And What They’re Not)

Boundaries are limits

—they are not threats or ultimatums. Boundaries inform or teach. They are not a form of punishment.

Boundaries are firm lines—determined by you—which cannot be crossed by those around you. They are guidelines for how you will allow others to treat you and what kind of behaviors you will expect.

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Healthy personal boundaries help protect you from physical or emotional pain. You may also need to set firm boundaries at work to ensure you and your time are not disrespected. Don’t allow others to take advantage of your kindness and generosity.

Clear boundaries communicate to others that you demand respect and consideration—that you are willing to stand up for yourself and that you will not be a doormat for anyone. They are a “no trespassing” sign that makes it very clear when a line has been crossed and that there will be consequences for doing so.

Boundaries are not set with the intention of changing other people. They may change how people interact with you, but they are more about enforcing your needs than attempting to change the general behavior and attitude of others.

How to Establish Boundaries and Take Control of Your Life

Here are some ways that you can establish boundaries and take control of your life.

1. Self-Awareness Comes First

Before you can establish boundaries with others, you first need to understand what your needs are.

You are entitled to respect. You have the right to protect yourself from inappropriate or offensive behavior. Setting boundaries is a way of honoring your needs.

To set appropriate boundaries, you need to be clear about what healthy behaviors look like—what healthy relationships look like.

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You first have to become more aware of your feelings and honest with yourself about your expectations and what you feel is appropriate behavior:

  • Where do you need to establish better boundaries?
  • When do you feel disrespected?
  • When do you feel violated, frustrated, or angered by the behavior of others?
  • In what situations do you feel you are being mistreated or taken advantage of?
  • When do you want to be alone?
  • How much space do you need?

You need to honor your own needs and boundaries before you can expect others to honor them. This allows you to take control of your life.

2. Clear Communication Is Essential

Inform others clearly and directly what your expectations are. It is essential to have clear communication if you want others to respect your boundaries. Explain in an honest and respectful tone what you find offensive or unacceptable.

Many people simply aren’t aware that they are behaving inappropriately. They may never have been taught proper manners or consideration for others.

3. Be Specific but Don’t Blame

Taking a blaming or punishing attitude automatically puts people on the defensive. People will not listen when they feel attacked. It’s part of human nature.

That said, you do not need to overexplain or defend yourself. Boundaries are not open to compromise.

Sample language:

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  • “You may not…yell or raise your voice to me…”
  • “I need…to be treated with respect…”
  • “It’s not okay when…you take things from my desk without asking…”
  • “I won’t…do your work…cover for you anymore…”
  • “It’s not acceptable when…you ridicule or insult me…”
  • “I am uncomfortable when…you use offensive language”
  • “I will no longer be able to…lend you money…”

Being able to communicate these without sounding accusatory is essential if you want others to respect your boundaries so you can take control of your life.

4. Consequences Are Often Necessary

Determine what the appropriate consequences will be when boundaries are crossed. If it’s appropriate, be clear about those consequences upfront when communicating those boundaries to others.

Follow through. People won’t respect your boundaries if you don’t enforce them.

Standing our ground and forcing consequences doesn’t come easily to us. We want to be nice. We want people to like us, but we shouldn’t have to trade our self-respect to gain friends or to achieve success.

We may be tempted to let minor disrespect slide to avoid conflict, but as the familiar saying goes, “if you give people an inch, they’ll take a mile.”

It’s much easier to address offensive or inappropriate behavior now than to wait until that behavior has gotten completely out of hand.

It’s also important to remember that positive reinforcement is even more powerful than negative consequences. When people do alter the way they treat you, acknowledge it. Let people know that you notice and appreciate their efforts.

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Final Thoughts

Respect is always a valid reason for setting a boundary. Don’t defend yourself or your needs. Boundaries are often necessary to protect your time, your space, and your feelings. And these are essential if you want to take control of your life.

Start with the easiest boundaries first. Setting boundaries is a skill that needs to be practiced. Enlist support from others if necessary. Inform people immediately when they have crossed the line.

Don’t wait. Communicate politely and directly. Be clear about the consequences and follow them through.

The better you become at setting your own boundaries, the better you become at recognizing and respecting the boundaries of others.

Remember that establishing boundaries is your right. You are entitled to respect. You can’t control how other people behave, but you do have control over the way you allow people to treat you.

Learning to set boundaries is not always easy, but with time, it will become more comfortable. You may eventually find that boundaries become automatic and you no longer need to consciously set them.

They will simply become a natural extension of your self-respect.

Featured photo credit: Thomas Kelley via unsplash.com

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