What is Cardio and How Does It Affect Your Heart?

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what is cardio and how does it affect your heart

Our bodies were made to move, not to be sedentary as too often happens in modern life. Cardio is any exercise that raises heart rate. When you work out a muscle it grows stronger.

Since your heart is the most important muscle in your body, in order to make it stronger, you have to raise your heart rate with cardio exercise. On the bright side, this helps your cells burn more fat when you are inactive.

When the heart grows stronger through a proper exercise regime, it can pump more blood throughout your body and maximize every beat. This means you can work at the maximum level with less effort.

If you exercise, your resting heart rate is slower due to less expenditure of effort to pump blood. Cardio exercise uses large muscles and over a sustained period for extended periods. This keeps your heart rate at 50 percent of its maximum.

All the Benefits of Cardio Exercise

Getting your sweat on during a workout changes how your body works. Cardio changes your body and has other benefits to pay off your hard work.

  • Lose weight fast
  • Develop strong heart and lungs
  • Improve bone density
  • Lower the risk of heart disease
  • Improve your confidence
  • Relieve depression with a natural endorphin high
  • Get better sleep and enjoy being more energetic

Notice that weight loss is not only one benefit of cardio. There is nothing wrong with wanting to look goodWhile there’s nothing wrong with wanting to look good, but if that is yoru primary goal, it makes exercising much harder.

You should find an activity that you love to do that just happens to meet your fitness goals. What should you do if you don’t get the results you were expecting as quickly as you thought?

The answer to that is to step away from the scale and properly motivate yourself to think about exercise wholistically. If your mind is engaged and excited about an activity, it will be much easier to keep up your routine.

What Happens When you Perform Cardio Exercise?

During cardiovascular exercise, blood flow zooms to working muscles and away from areas that don’t need as much, including the system. This increased blood flow raises the volume of blood volume that returns to the heart.

The heart notes the increased blood volume, and the left ventricle enlarges. Having a big heart isn’t just good for emotions, this enlarged cavity makes the heart much more efficient.

Examples of Cardio Exercise

Here are some sample cardio exercises:

  • Walking
  • running
  • bike riding
  • Swimming
  • Aerobics

When you work out, aim for a moderate sweat. If you can’t finish a sentence during a workout, you can probably stay at that level or slow down. If you can speak with no difficulty, try taking it up a notch.

You need a minimum of 20 minutes of continued elevated pulse to get the best results at least 3 times a week. Over time,with continuous cardio training, your resting heart rate will drop because your heart is able to process more blood with every beat.

This explains why doctors and public health representatives push cardio exercise for heart health.

Unfortunately, cardiovascular exercise produces stress, especially in people who are already high-strung. Over-training can flood the body with cortisol, a condition that can lead to a break down of the immune system.

If you work in a stressful environment or have poor digestion, you should not further elevate your stress levels by overtraining.

Keep your goals firmly in mind and be fair to yourself about what you should be able to accomplish.

Moderate your exercises to fit with where you are at currently, not some pie-in-the-sky day when you will have the perfect body and plenty of time to show it off.

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Jennifer has been a health writer and editor for 7 years. She has contributed to many national magazines and web sites, including Fitness, Health, Reader Digest, Shape and many more.

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