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Can Cardio Be your Magic Bullet for Health? E-mail
Written by Lynn Glenn   

cardio-lady30 minutes a day of cardio may the magic bullet you've been looking for according to new research.

With its health benefits ranging from disease prevention to stress reduction, cardio/aerobic exercise is one of the best things you can do for your overall health. Cardio/aerobic exercise can help you live longer and healthier and can help you prevent and manage chronic health conditions. 

Definition of Cardiovascular Exercise 

Cardiovascular exercise, also called cardio or aerobic exercise , is any physical activity which raises the heart rate to around 60 to 85 percent of the heart's maximum heart rate for an extended period of time, usually twenty minutes or longer.

Types of Cardio/Aerobic Exercises

Examples include: walking, running, jogging, rowing, hiking, basketball, tennis, kick boxing, boxing, swimming and aerobic/cardio classes; just to name a few.

Health Benefits of Cardio  cycling-cardio-workout

Aerobic/cardio exercise can reduce the risks of many diseases and conditions, including:

  • Hypertension (high blood pressure). If you have high blood pressure, aerobic exercise can help lower it.
  • Coronary artery disease. Heart disease is one of the top causes of death for men and women in the United States. If you've had a heart attack, achieving a higher level of aerobic fitness can help prevent a second attack and decrease your risk of dying from coronary artery disease.
  • Stroke. Aerobic exercise improves blood fats resulting in less build-up of plaques in your arteries. Deposits of plaques in blood vessels leading to your brain can result in a stroke .
  • Cancers. Cardio exercise helps lower the risk of cancers of the colon, prostate, uterine lining and breast. Cardio exercise helps combat colon cancer by helping digested food move through the colon more quickly. Cardio exercise lowers the risk of breast and uterine cancers by reducing body fat and decreasing estrogen production. Researchers are uncertain about how exercise lowers the risk of prostate cancer.
  • Type 2 diabetes. Aerobic exercise helps you control your weight, reducing the likelihood of your being overweight or obese, conditions that can lead to type 2 diabetes.
  • Insulin resistance disease. Aerobic exercise helps control blood sugar levels.
  • Obesity. Cardio workouts optimize fat loss by imposing significant degree of fat burning requirement that utilizes conversion of fats to energy thereby reducing excessive fat storage.
  • Osteoporosis. Cardio exercise can slow bone mineral loss, help maintain posture and improve your overall fitness.

Aerobic/cardio exercise can also help manage chronic disease and conditions in the following ways:

  • Cardio strengthens the heart. A stronger heart can pump more blood for every heartbeat, which means your heart doesn't need to beat as fast during rest or exercise.
  • Cardio improves circulation. A stronger heart muscle pumps blood more efficiently.
  • Cardio relieves chronic muscle pain and fibromyalgia. Aerobic exercise stimulates the growth of tiny blood vessels (capillaries) in your muscles. This helps your body deliver oxygen to your muscles more efficiently and remove irritating metabolic waste products, such as lactic acid.
  • Cardio lowers your blood sugar levels if you have diabetes. Keeping your blood sugar within target range can help you avoid long-term complications of diabetes, such as kidney failure or heart disease.
  • Cardio helps with weight management. Combined with a healthy diet and appropriate strength training, aerobic/cardio exercise can help you lose weight or maintain a healthy weight.

Other Health Benefits of Cardio:

  • Cardio improves stamina and reduce fatigue. Aerobic exercise may make you tired in the short term, i.e., during and right after the activity, but over the long term it will increase your stamina and reduce fatigue.
  • Cardio improves muscle and bone strength. Muscle and bone are living tissues that respond to exercise by becoming stronger. Cardio allows us to maintain muscle strength, coordination, and balance, which in turn helps to prevent falls and related fractures.
  • Cardio improves your immune system. People who exercise regularly are less susceptible to minor viral illnesses, such as colds and flu .
  • Cardio improves blood fats. Aerobic exercise increases the concentration of high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol (the "good" cholesterol) and decreases the concentration of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol (the "bad" cholesterol) in your blood.
  • Cardio improves sexual performance. In 2003, scientists at Harvard School of Public Health found that men who ran at least three hours each week reported sexual functioning like that of men two to five years younger.
  • Cardio reduces stress and anxiety. By expelling your excess negative emotions and adrenaline through physical activity, you can enter a more relaxed, calm state of being from which to deal with the issues and conflicts that are causing your anxiety.
  • Cardio improves sleep. Cardio has a calming affect on anxiety and improves sleep quality, both in the amount of time it takes to fall asleep and total sleep time.
  • Cardio improves mood and sense of well being. Research has shown that aerobic exercise can improve mood by elevating serotonin levels.

Bottom Line on Cardio/Aerobic Exercise Improving Overall Health

You can significantly improve your overall health, well-being and quality of life by introducing a moderate amount of aerobic exercise into your daily life. You will not only live longer and healthier lives by exercising regularly, but also live more years independently.

References

1. US Public Health Service, Office of the Surgeon General. Physical Activity and Health: A Report of the Surgeon General. Atlanta, GA: US Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion; 1996.

2. Paffenbarger RS, Hyde RT, Wing AL, et al. The association of changes in physical-activity level and other lifestyle characteristics with mortality among men. N Eng J Med. 1993; 328: 538-545.[CrossRef][Medline] [Order article via Infotrieve]

3. Myers J, Prakash M, Froelicher V, et al. Exercise capacity and mortality among men referred for exercise testing. N Engl J Med. 2002; 346: 793-801.[CrossRef][Medline] [Order article via Infotrieve]

4. Pate RR, Pratt MP, Blair SN, et al. Physical activity and public health: a recommendation from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the American College of Sports Medicine. JAMA,. 1995; 273: 402-407.[Abstract/Free Full Text]

5. American College of Sports Medicine. Guidelines for Exercise Testing and Prescription. 6th ed. Baltimore, Md: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2000.

6. Fletcher GF, Balady GJ, Amsterdam EA, et al. Exercise standards for testing and training: a statement for healthcare professionals from the American Heart Association. Circulation. 2001; 104: 1694-1740.[Free Full Text]

About the Author Lynn Glenn

lynn_glenn_expert_black_sleevelessLynn Glenn is a popular  health, and fitness, author regularly writing for several top health and fitness websites. Lynn's expertise includes writing about the latest health, fitness,  disease prevention, diet, nutrition, natural healing, and  anti aging issues  being discussed today.  Lynn is also a senior writer and editor at including but not limited to www.MuscleMagFitness.com, www.MyBesthealthPortal.com , and www.MyBesthealthPortal.net.

 

 
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