Cardio, commonly referred to as cardiovascular exercise, is one of the most effective ways to improve heart health. Whether you want to run, cycle, swim, or use a workout machine, including cardio in your fitness routine can have several benefits for your heart and general health.
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What Is Cardiovascular Exercise?
Cardiovascular exercise is any vigorous activity that uses the body’s large muscle groups repeatedly and rhythmically while raising heart rate, breathing, and oxygen and blood flow levels.
How Does Cardio Improve Heart Health?
There are many ways cardio improves our heart health, some of which include the following.
Lowers Blood Pressure
Blood pressure reduction has a major positive impact on heart health, while high blood pressure increases the risk of heart disease, heart attack, and stroke by weakening the arteries and straining the heart muscle.
By lowering blood pressure through lifestyle changes like cardiovascular exercise, a healthy diet, and stress management, the heart can function more effectively and efficiently, reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease and improving heart health.
Decreases Risk of Diabetes
Regular cardiovascular exercise can decrease the risk of developing diabetes. Diabetes can damage blood vessels and increase the risk of heart attack and stroke.
By reducing the risk of diabetes, cardiovascular exercise can help improve heart health and minimize the risk of heart disease.
Maintains Healthy Body Weight
It is crucial to maintain a healthy weight as obesity puts extra strain on the heart, raising the risk of heart disease and other conditions associated with your heart.
You can maintain a healthy weight through a healthy diet and exercise. A healthy weight can also help prevent the risk of diabetes and blood pressure problems which play a huge role in your heart’s health.
Improves Sleep Quality
Cardio improves the quality of sleep by promoting deeper, more restful sleep. Exercising releases hormones called endorphins that can help lower stress and increase relaxation. This can result in better sleep, which has many health advantages, such as lowering the risk of heart illnesses, depression, anxiety, and other health conditions.
Strengthens Heart Muscle
Regular cardiovascular exercise can improve overall heart health by strengthening the heart muscle. Cardiovascular exercise makes your heart work harder to pump blood throughout your body, strengthening the heart muscle over time. A heart that is stronger and more effective at pumping blood decreases the risk of heart failure.
Reduces Inflammation throughout the Body
It’s crucial to take steps to reduce inflammation in the body as it has been linked to a higher risk of heart disease. The best ways to lower inflammation and improve heart health include eating a healthy diet high in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, exercising frequently, controlling stress levels, and getting enough sleep.
Engaging in regular cardiovascular exercise is crucial for maintaining heart health. For most healthy adults, the Department of Health and Human Services recommends 150 minutes of moderate cardio exercise and 75 minutes of vigorous cardio exercise per week.
Always start with lower-intensity exercise for a shorter time and then build up day after day to prevent yourself from overworking your body.