There is probably no better exercise for restoration of the body and mind than a good outside walk, run or jog. Being outside in the great outdoors with your heart pumping extra oxygenated blood throughout your body does wonderful things for physical and mental healing. It matters not if you are an avid runner, or just one who likes to go for brisk walks, the benefit is all the same. Cardiovascular training not only aids in lowering your risk for heart disease, it also reduces stress levels, increases energy, and improves sleep and digestion. It is a well established fact that regular cardiovascular training improves muscular function and strength and improvement in the body’s ability to take in and use oxygen. As one’s ability to transport and use oxygen improves, regular daily activities can be performed with less fatigue than when your cardiovascular health is not optimal.
You do not need to be a marathon runner or an elite athlete to derive significant benefits from cardiovascular activity. You do not have to already be in “shape to begin. Know that you should always consult your physician before starting any type of exercise.
Clearly, most people can derive significant benefits from integrating a half hour of moderate activity into their day. If you know you simply cannot or will not set aside a half hour of activity on a given day, then try to work more activities into the day by taking the stairs rather than the elevator, or try walking rather than driving a short distance to the store. Try to work several shorter periods of activity, such as 10 minutes, into your schedule. The most important thing is to get started.
Whether you walk, run or jog, cardiovascular training can offer numerous health benefits to people of all ages and fitness levels. It may also help prevent certain diseases and even prolong your life. Best of all, cardiovascular exercise is free, and quite easy to fit into your daily routine. All you need to start is a good pair of shoes for the exercise you are going to do.
Benefits of Cardiovascular Exercise:
Cardio helps you burn calories.
Burning calories can help you maintain or lose weight. Your actual calorie burn will depend on several factors, including:
- your speed
- distance covered
- terrain (you’ll burn more calories walking uphill than you’ll burn on a flat surface)
- your weight
Walking at least 30 minutes a day, five days a week can reduce your risk for coronary heart disease. And your risk may reduce even more when you increase the duration or distance you walk per day.
Cardio can help to lower your blood sugar.
It is well established that by taking a short walk after eating, you can lower your blood sugar. Studies have found that taking a 15-minute walk three times a day (after breakfast, lunch, and dinner) improved blood sugar levels more than taking a 45-minute walk at another point during the day. Consider making a post-meal walk a regular part of your routine. It can also help you fit exercise in throughout the day.
Note: If you have been living a sedentary lifestyle, give yourself a half hour after eating before beginning any vigorous exercise.
Cardio can ease joint pain.
Walking can help protect the joints, including your knees and hips. That’s because it helps lubricate and strengthen the muscles that support the joints. Walking may also provide benefits for people living with arthritis, such as reducing pain. And walking 5 to 6 miles a week may also help prevent arthritis.
Cardio helps to improve your mood.
Walking can help your mental health. Studies show it can help reduce anxiety, depression, and a negative mood. It can also boost self-esteem and reduce symptoms of social withdrawal. To experience these benefits, aim for 30 minutes of brisk walking or other moderate intensity exercise three days a week. You can also break it up into three 10-minute walks.
Walking can clear your head and help you think creatively, especially when walking outdoors. It is a most excellent way to open up a free flow of ideas and is a simple way to increase creativity and get physical activity at the same time.
What if the inclement weather does not permit outside cardiovascular exercise?
If weather keeps you from outside exercise, then you might consider buying a treadmill for home use. There are many on the market and are a great investment for your health and wellbeing. Using one will help you lose weight and burn fat, and you can get started at almost any level of fitness. Benefits of having a treadmill at home include:
- Cheaper than a gym membership for a year but will last longer.
- Available all year round 24/7 – whenever you have a spare 5 or 10 minutes.
- You’ll burn extra calories to help boost your weight loss.
- No need to get changed into gym wear. Just pop on your trainers, grab a bottle of water and go!
- Doesn’t matter what the weatherman says, you can walk regardless.
- Brilliant for de-stressing after work or when the kids are finally in bed.
- It is a great way to wake you up in the morning.
- You can listen to songs you love that no one else likes while you’re walking on the treadmill. Even your guilty pleasure songs that you don’t admit to anyone you like!
- You could listen to an audible book while burning some calories.
- You could even set up your laptop and catch up on an episode of your favourite TV program while you’re walking.
- Only got 3 minutes spare? You can walk on the treadmill.
- Many of them fold up so loads of space isn’t needed.
- You can use the incline on your treadmill to make the walk a little harder which will make you burn even more calories.
- It will help to tone up your bottom – walking uphill is great for the glutes
- Looking for some peace and quiet? Get on the treadmill
- Need to work through a problem? Work it out while you’re working out!
If you are considering the purchase of your first treadmill, you do not need to feel the need to break your bank with the most expensive model you can find. Yet, you also do not want to choose one that is cheaply made, they will not last any longer than their warranty, which is usually not that long. Our good friends at ConsumersAdvocate have an excellent, in depth review of treadmills you can read by clicking the link provided. This is a must read before making your purchase. In their article, they discuss price ranges, features, warranty and customer service for several good treadmills you can find at your local sporting goods outlet. Do yourself a favor and be armed with solid information before putting down your hard earned cash and this investment into your health and well being.