Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Why Kick It into High Gear? The benefits of cardiovascular exercise

Ok all you exercise demons, it's time to get out there and really kick it up a notch…and couch potatoes, the time has come to lace up your sneakers and get moving. I know not everyone loves exercise…I get it, but at some point you're going to have to realize that cardio is good for you! And, dare I say, fun?

So what exactly is cardiovascular exercise? Simply stated it's any movement that gets your heart rate up and increases blood circulation throughout the body. Cardiovascular exercise really does do your body good in a number of ways and it doesn't demand hours of devotion. Try to move three to five times a week, keeping your heart rate up for at least 25 minutes. Soon you will discover the benefits of cardiovascular exercise including:

Burn Baby Burn: Say goodbye to extra calories each time you get that heart rate going…the more strenuous the activity is, the more calories you'll burn. And the more calories burned the better. Plus cardio raises your metabolism so you get to burn more calories even hours after your exercise is done. So go for a run, take a kick boxing class, or ride your bike, any exercise that increases your heart rate counts.

Bye Bye Body Fat: Honest, cardiovascular fitness is associated with fat loss. First of all, it decreases appetite in many people…and even if it doesn't, it does promote lean body tissue and lower the percentage of body fat. Try running up and down stairs, or take a step class to get that heart pumping.

Let the Sunshine In: Cardio exercise actually improves your mood. So even if you're grumpy over the idea of exercising, you'll feel a whole lot better once you're done. Elevating the heart rate elevates your mood and helps alleviate fatigue and depression. Wow, just hearing it makes you happy, right?

Toughen Up Your Ticker: When you increase your heart rate, you actually improve heart and lung function since you pump more blood and transport more oxygen with less effort. Plus, cardio exercise has been shown to play a significant role in lowering the risk for coronary artery disease. Even lifting weights in swift repetition is cardio, and it improves muscle mass at the same time.

Put Up a Fight: The more exercise you do, the more assistance you give your immune system in fighting off disease. Plus, it helps you create a stronger skeletal system and increases muscle mass so your body is stronger and less prone to disease and damage. It's even been shown to help individuals with diabetes manage their sugar levels more efficiently.

So, have I convinced you yet? Cardiovascular exercise is good for body and mind, and I don't mind telling you, without it, you're missing an opportunity to keep yourself the best you can be. So kick up your heels and get moving. Oh, and about it being fun…for me aerobic exercise classes at Lucille Roberts and some belly dancing classes on the weekend make me smile every time.

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