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The case for cardio

cardiovascular-exercise-benefits-360x240I just read an article about a fitness/bikini competitor who brags about doing zero cardio. She achieves her “ideal” body by what she eats and lifting weights. It’s not my idea of the perfect body but she definitely looks fit and that’s the point of being a bikini competitor. However, bragging about not taking care of your heart and lungs for the sake of looking good, that’s crazy. And, she’s promoting a lifestyle and commitment that most of us don’t have the time or stamina to achieve and sustain.

Exercise and fitness isn’t just about looking good. Fitness is about being healthy and living longer. It’s about having a strong heart, healthy lungs, sturdy bones and lean muscle mass.  And, yes, the extra benefit is looking great in whatever you choose to wear.

So, here’s my case for doing cardio – at least 5 days a week and for 30 minutes or more.

  1. Stress Relief.  I swear that my family, marriage, career, etc. have been successful because I sweat out the stress. Usually I do something like kickboxing or a HIIT workout if I’m feeling really stressed out. But often times a good long yoga stretch can help calm me.  Science backs this up Exercise and Stress Relief.
  2. Better Clarity and Creativity.  I think so much clearer and have some of my best ideas when running or doing a long cardio workout. As a writer, I’ve used running as a way to get out of a creative rut or manage through writer’s block. The issue becomes stopping and jotting down a note in my phone.
  3. Strength and Endurance. I have a grandchild, and while I’m a young g’ma I’m certain it’s going to take some endurance and strength to keep up with a toddler in a few years. Cardio builds endurance and strength.  I plan to set an example for my granddaughter that fitness is a way of life and be very active with her.
  4. Boosts Confidence.  When you push yourself to achieve something — run a 5k, learn to ballroom dance, or try a spin class for the first time, you build your confidence and feel a sense of accomplishment.  That spills over into your personal and professional life too.  Cardio exercise isn’t always easy, so when you finish a new workout or set a new PR, you build your self-esteem and confidence.  I always do an intense cardio session before an interview.
  5. Improves and Protects What’s on the Inside.  Heart-pumping, sweat-inducing cardiovascular exercise does amazing things for the parts of your body you can’t see.  Here are a few…improves heart health, lowers blood pressure, increases metabolism, keeps diabetes in check, boosts immune system, burns fat, reduces risk of osteoporosis…do I need to go on?

The best news about cardio is that it doesn’t have to be boring or tedious.  It doesn’t have to be hard on your joints.  There are a multitude of ways to gain all the benefits of a cardio workout without killing yourself.  So, while strength training and proper nutrition are ABSOLUTELY essential to a holistic healthy lifestyle, cardio is equally as important.

Want a recommendation? Need help getting started?  Email me at nikicamp@gmail.com and I’d be happy to discuss what I do and what might work for you.

Happy sweating!

xo

Niki

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