Maintaining a healthy lifestyle involves finding a balance between healthy eating, strength and cardio training. In the last two issues of wakeUPgirl magazine, we discussed strength training and healthy eating options; here we will tackle cardio training. Cardio, which is short for cardiovascular, involves any activity or movement that increases your heart rate and the circulation of blood through the body. Cardio training has many benefits and can take on many different forms with a variety of results:
1. Weight Loss. One of the most recognized benefits of cardio training is weight loss. Weight loss occurs when more calories are burned than those eaten. Cardio training allows for an increase in the amount of calories burned. However, the best recipe for weight loss involves a combination of cardio and strength training, along with a healthy diet.
2. Heart Health. The heart is a muscle which requires that it is worked to maintain strength. Like all other muscles, if it is neglected, it losses strength and doesn’t function to its full potential. Cardio training essentially gets the heart pumping keeping it healthy and functioning effectively.
3. Reduced Stress. Cardio training causes endorphins to be released in the brain. According to webmd.com, “endorphins interact with the receptors in the brain that reduce the perception of pain. They also trigger a positive feeling in the body, which can be accompanied by a positive and energizing outlook on life.”
4. Increased Metabolism. The body’s metabolism determines the rate the body burns and converts food into fuel, which impacts the rate the body gains or losses weight. Cardio training is one effective way to boost the body’s metabolism.
1. Walking. Although walking is considered a low impact exercise, many people underestimate the effectiveness of a consistent walking regimen. Notice the word ‘consistent’, because it is the key. Experts suggest that a daily 30-minute brisk walk is enough to help maintain proper health and fitness. Walking can burn up to 180 calories in a 30-minute interval.
2. Running. Running is considered a high impact exercise that helps to burn a high amount of calories. It doesn’t require much preparation or dollars, and can be done at anytime and anywhere. Running can burn 300 or more calories in a 30-minute interval.
3. Bicycling. Bicycling is considered a no impact exercise that can be fun and idea for people who experience joint problems. Bicycling also helps to sculpt strong buttocks and legs. Depending on the speed and resistance, bicycling can burn between 250-500 calories in a 30-minute interval.
4. Swimming. Swimming is considered a low impact exercise that works the entire body, increasing the amount of calories burned. It is also an excellent choice for people who experience joint problems. Swimming can burn up to 400 calories in a 30-minute interval.
5. Step Aerobics. Step aerobics is considered a low impact exercise for those who enjoy choreographed exercises. Step aerobics work the legs, thighs, hips, and glutes. Step aerobics can burn up to 400 calories in a 30-minute interval.
Cardio training is an essential component to living a healthy and fit lifestyle. Independent of the overall goal, be sure to select a training regimen that you are motivated to do on a consistent basis. As it is true for healthy eating and strength training, consistency is the key element to yielding the desired results.