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6 Benefits of Cardio Exercise

6 Benefits of Cardio Exercise

It seems like every month there’s a new exercise program. Although having multiple options can be a good idea, sometimes it turns out to be a little bit too much.

As for myself, I don’t have too much time on my hands and can’t spend hours in the gym. That’s why I have been looking for a program or some sort of routine to improve my fitness levels. Today, most fitness programs are just fads or trends — they aren’t based on scientific research. That’s why I decided to stick with the basics and do cardio. After all, its benefits have been well-documented. Here’s why you should try incorporating some cardio exercise into your own routine.

1. It promotes brain health

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    A Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience study showed that engaging in cardio exercise helps improves memory, brain health, as well as physical fitness in sedentary adults. The results suggest that even short-term exercise can be beneficial to long-term health.

    2. It improves heart health

    Heart Health

      Your heart is a muscle and, just like any other muscle in your body, in order to remain in good health, it has to be worked. Failing to “work” your muscles, including your heart, weakens them over time, thus heightening your risks for various diseases.

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      Cardio exercise is an excellent way to get your heart pumping at a faster rate to keep it in proper shape and optimal health. Plus, cardio exercise lowers your LDL (bad) cholesterol.

      3. It improves metabolism

      Metabolism

        Along with boosting your heart rate, cardio exercise increases the rate of various processes in your body, also known as metabolism. The more intense the cardio session, the more noticeable the increase in your metabolic rate.

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        4. It eases depression and fatigue

        Ease fatigue

          Performing cardio exercise releases hormones that help relieve symptoms of fatigue and depression. As an added benefit, hormones that decrease appetite are also released.

          5. It regulates diabetes

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          diabetes

            By performing cardio exercises regularly, you will increase your muscles’ ability to utilize glucose. Regular exercise also helps to keep your blood sugar levels under control, meaning you don’t experience as many blood sugar swings as people who don’t exercise regularly. Cardio exercises are particularly beneficial for diabetics, as they are extremely sensitive to changes in blood sugar levels.

            6. It has physical benefits

            Physical Benefits

              Cardio exercises burn up calories, thus helping you shed those extra few pounds. It’s also perfect for toning your muscles and improving posture. Your increased stamina and greater energy will make you more productive overall.

              Cardio exercise is a highly popular form of exercise — and for good reason. It’s linked with various health benefits that are well-documented. With regular exercise, both your physical and mental health will be improved, along with your sleep patterns and productivity.

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              Last Updated on May 22, 2019

              10 Simple Morning Exercises That Will Make You Feel Great All Day

              10 Simple Morning Exercises That Will Make You Feel Great All Day

              There are lots of studies that show if you do some exercise in the morning, you will be in a better mood all day long. You will have more energy and you will certainly be a better colleague, friend or partner.

              One psychologist at Duke University has researched the effects of exercise on depressed patients and he has come to the conclusion that exercise has a definite role in treating this condition and has an important role in preventing people from relapsing.[1] According to the New York Times, scientists have now established that exercise also boosts your brain power.[2]

              In addition, there are studies from the Appalachian State University which show that blood pressure can be reduced by doing regular morning exercise.[3]

              Here are 10 simple morning exercises that will help you feel great the whole day long. You can include some of them in your morning exercise routine or do them all at home without having to enrol in a gym. Consult your doctor before starting any form of exercise routine if you are new to this.

              1. Cat Camel Stretch

              Stretching exercises are useful for muscle toning and also preventing arthritis. They can either be dynamic or static.

              Dynamic ones such as the cat camel stretch, are particularly useful for doing other exercises in the morning. They are also beneficial at other times of the day, especially after long periods of sedentary work. This one is great for spinal flexibility and is a good warm up exercise.

              Kneel down on all fours. Start by rounding your back just like a camel so that your head will try to meet your pelvis. This is the camel position. Then lower and lift your head so that your lower back is arched. This is the cat position. Do these movements slowly and smoothly. About 4 or 5 times.

              Here’s a video to guide you through:

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              2. Go for a Walk or a Run

              This is better done outside so that you can connect with nature but running inside on a treadmill is almost as good. You can time yourself and increase length and time according to your fitness program.

              Always have new goals to reach. Start with brisk walking and work up to running. At my age, I am still walking!

              The health benefits are considerable. You can build stronger bones and you can help to maintain your weight.

              Also, you are helping your heart to stay healthy and keeping your blood pressure low.

              Learn more about the benefits of running here: 8 Benefits of Running 5 Minutes Every Day You Didn’t Know

              3. Jumping Jacks

              Michelle Obama is a great fan of this exercise and has become “Jumper in Chief.”[4] They are great for cardiovascular health and also for toning muscles especially the calves and the deltoids.

              Stand with feet together. Jump while spreading your arms and legs. Return to first position and keep going! You can start with doing these for 1 minute and then gradually build up to the number you are comfortable with. Here’s how:

              4. Abductor Side Lifts

              Watch the video below to see how to do this exercise. These muscles are important because you use them everyday to run, get into the car or onto and off a bicycle. They are very important also for your core stability and prevent the pelvis from tilting.[5]

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              Do about 10 to 15 raises for each side like this:

              5. Balancing Table Pose

              This is a classic yoga pose. It benefits the spine, balance, memory and concentration.

              Start with the table pose (hands and knees). Breathe in before starting each movement. As you exhale, raise your left leg parallel to the floor as you raise the right arm, also parallel to the floor. Breathe in as you lower arm and leg. Repeat for the other side. 10 repetitions on each side is a good starting point.

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                6. Leg Squats

                Not just legs are involved but also hips and knees.

                Stand with your feet a bit further out from your hips. Arms are out in front of you. Then lower yourself as if you wanted to sit down until you reach a 90 degree angle. You can go down further if you want to. Then return to the starting position. Repeat 15 times for 2 sets for beginners.

                The benefits are that these exercises help with knee stability and can benefit the leg muscles such as quadriceps, hamstrings and calves.[6]

                7. Push Ups

                You start lying down (face down) but with your body held up at arm’s length. Your hands should be in line with your shoulders. Breathe in as you lower your body. That is fairly easy. Now, as you exhale, you have to get back up to the starting position.

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                An easier version to start with is to bend your legs at the knees so you do not have to lift your whole body.

                Beginners may take up to a month to be able to do 100 push ups so you will have to start with a very small number and gradually increase it.

                This exercise is great for strengthening the chest, shoulders and the triceps. It is a great strengthening exercise for many muscle groups. In fact, most muscles from the toes to the shoulders are being used.

                8. Bicycle Crunches

                There are numerous crunch exercises targeting the abs. The bicycle crunch is a variation where you work more muscle groups. Aim for 15 to 20 reps to start off with.

                Watch the video to see how this is done correctly:

                9. Lunges

                Stand with feet shoulder width apart. Place your hand on your hips. Take one giant step forward with the right leg. Make sure the knee does not go too far forward, that is, past your toes. The left knee will go down to almost floor level. Alternate the legs as you go on.

                Try to do a set of between 8 and 12 reps for each leg. It is important to allow for a day of rest, so this exercise should be done on alternate days, especially if you are using weights.

                This exercise is great for strengthening and toning the quadriceps, glutes and hamstrings.

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                10. Bicep Curls

                You can do this sitting down so if you spend a lot of time on the phone, this is a great exercise to do.

                Choose suitable dumbbells or another household object that you can easily hold. Sit down with the dumbbell in your hand. You need to sit forward a bit so that your triceps can lean on your thigh to give you support.

                Then bring the weighted arm up to shoulder length and then down again. Exhale as you lift the weight and inhale as you lower it.

                Here’re some important notes before you start doing this exercise:

                Try to do one or two sets of about ten repetitions for each arm and then switch arms.

                These exercises are really useful for toning the arm muscles.[7] In addition, they can strengthen and tone the brachioradialis muscle located in the forearm. These are the muscles we use to pick up things when we flex the arm at the elbow so we use these muscles countless times a day.

                You may have to build in a rest day for the heavier exercises, numbers 6–10. On the rest days, you can do gentler stretching exercises and also some walking or running.

                Morning exercise is not only a great mood booster, but will help you keep your weight down and also sleep better![8] Start including one or some of these exercises in your morning routine!

                More Articles About Exercises for Beginners

                Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

                Reference

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