First of all, so sorry for the lack of posting last week!! Life is crazy sometimes! I promise I'm still alive, just trying to deal with all things life right now :) ANYWAYS.... I promise to be more consistent!
I know that cardio is most people's least favorite thing about their workouts... but I am here to tell you that you need to do it! There are soooooooo many benefits to it. And fortunately, there's a lot of different ways to get your cardio in, you just have to find that one that you enjoy the most!
For your heart & lungs
Regular moderate cardiovascular activity can actually strengthen and build your heart muscle (you know its a muscle, right?) Just like any other muscle it can strength or weaken over time. It never stays stagnant! When your heart is stronger, it is able to pump blood more efficiently to the lungs (to be oxygenated) and to the rest of the body. More oxygen is then available to all muscle groups in your body- this is a great thing! Oxygen helps remove waste products (like lactic acid)... so yes. Sign me up!
For Beta Oxidation
Not to get all science-y on you, but you want some beta oxidation in your life. Beta oxidation is when your body is using its fatty acid molecules (aka burning fat). This is the 'slow' burn you've always heard about. Your body is in a beta oxidation state when you are in low-intensity cardiovascular (aerobic) activity. This doesn't burn as many calories as quickly as anaerobic (like HIIT) workouts, but there needs to be both in your weekly routine. I don't know about you, but I like it when I know my body is using it's fatty acid (aka 'fat storage') immediately, even if its a longer workout. If you want to really get into the nitty gritty, try to find the happy medium for you that's using both your aerobic system and your anaerobic system. That way you get the best burn of both worlds!
For your brain
Cardiovascular exercise has lots of benefits on your brain (including increased blood flow, which increases your ability to process information) but one of my favorite benefits is the release of hormones including serotonin (the mood booster!). So while you may not be super happy about adding cardio into your workout, in the long term it will have positive effects on your mood :)
For your muscles
Say hellooooo to lean and defined muscles. Yes, lifting weights is how you get 'tone' to your muscles... but who is going to see all that tone if there is a layer of fat over it? Yeah, not even you. If you want to really see a difference in the look and shape of your body, you must add in cardio. It is crucial for success!
For your sanity
There's not really much science behind this one, but I love the peace of mind that I get when I add regular cardio to my routine. Personally, I love to dance. Its fun & keeps my mind totally occupied and focused on my body.
When I need some time to think, I also love going out for runs. Unplug sometimes and really focus on you - what are you thinking about? How do you feel? Its prime time to address concerns and issues you are having in your head. What better time to do that than outside in the fresh air?
The same type of cardio may not work for everyone, but I want to challenge you to find what you actually enjoy doing. Maybe you love tennis or swimming? Why not create your own cardio workouts with those sports? You'll be surprised at how much easier it is to stay consistent!
I'm a college-grad, certified group fitness instructor and certified personal trainer looking to get my healthy to the next level. I hope you can find a little something here that will help you on your journey too.