Why Cardio Is King: 10 Surprising Reasons You Should Get Your Sweat On Daily

Daily sweat sessions? Yes, please!

Exercise trends are skewing in the opposite direction as research warns us about the risks of overloading, touting the importance of rest days. While it’s true that we ought to give our bodies a break, it’s a bad idea to turn into a chip eating couch potato on your “off days.” Cardio workouts are not created equal and I’d like to propose you do something that involves elevating your heart rate and moving every day. My husband runs 20k for fun before breakfast (he’s awesome and, well, extreme), but, heck, some days my cardio consists of merely walking up the hill for 20 minutes to get home. Here’s the gist: Do something daily and change it up enough to stay challenged, interested, rested, and injury-free.

Depending on your body type, lifestyle, energy levels, interests, and time, you might go all out a few times a week (run, spin, or interval train), and then do a more moderate cardio the other few days (walk, swim, or even some forms of yoga). Here are 10 inspirations for getting your sweat on daily.

You’ll Get Skinny

Just kidding, but do I have your attention yet? The truth is that active people tend to be leaner than non-active people. That’s because, a good sweat session torches calories, boosts the metabolism, helps to balance fat-hormones, and can blast that unwanted belly fat. So if you’ve developed a habit of moving and sweating every single day then congratulations, you’ve entered the active club. Staying lean obviously depends on not downing a milkshake after your brisk walk, but studies show that people who are active tend to be more mindful about what they eat so there’s a ripple effect.

You Feel Amazing

Have you ever noticed that after an intense workout that you feel great? I mean, sure, your legs may be tired, you may be huffing and puffing to catch your breath, and you may be drenched in sweat. But, you still feel great. You see, when you get your heart pumping, endorphins and other feel-good hormones are released, which helps to fight depression, boost your mood, and improve your overall outlook on life. On the flip side, when you don’t move, you tend to feel tired and unmotivated. It’s a vicious cycle and getting into the daily swing of working up a good sweat may seem challenging at first. But stick with it because you’ll eventually get addicted to the fitness high.

You Get Healthier

We’ve all heard it a million times—cardiovascular exercise can improve our heart health by strengthening our heart muscles, controlling blood pressure, and lowering LDL (AKA bad) cholesterol. Just for the sake of refreshing your memory, though, it’s worth mentioning. But lowering your risk of heart disease isn’t the only way cardio benefits your health. It’s also been linked to improved mental clarity and memory, thanks to all the extra oxygen pumping to the brain. As the Cleveland Clinic points out, cardio exercise helps slow down the brain’s aging process and protects against Alzheimer’s Disease. Wait … there’s more! Since regular cardio workouts increase your muscles’ ability to utilize glucose, it also has a positive effect on blood sugar levels. You know what that means, right? It can actually help regulate diabetes.

Keeps You Young

On so many levels. Since a lot of people immediately think of outer appearance when they hear the word “aging,” let’s start there. You see, cardio workouts increase circulation, which can lead to clearer, more glowing, and healthier skin. They can also enhance your entire demeanor. You begin to realize that age is just a number and that youthful feeling that cardio instills in you helps keeps you vibrant. Committed sweat sessions can also keep your body in a youthful state by building stronger bones. Weight-bearing physical activity like running, jumping rope, and lifting weights can help by enhancing bone density and fighting against osteoporosis.

You Get More Confident

Is it really a shocker that when you look great and feel awesome that you develop better self-esteem? Yeah, I didn’t think so!

You Learn To Let Go Of Shit

I recently started running. Let me just say, I kinda hate running. But towards the end of my run, I begin to feel a sense freedom. The little things that I’m mentally holding on to get lost in my run and I stop stressing. Perhaps this has something to do with all of that dopamine that’s getting pumped into my brain during my workout. So the next time you feel like something big in your life is weighing you down, sweat it off and you’re likely to feel a whole lot lighter.

You Get a Better Night’s Sleep

Going for a hike, playing a round of tennis, or dancing with friends — it’s all cardio and it’s all going to wear you out by the end of the day. It makes sense if you think about it. The more energy you exert, the more tired you are by bed time. But don’t take my word for it. The National Sleep Foundation published a study that shows people sleep significantly better if they get at least 150 minutes (that only 2.5 hours) of exercise in a week. The study looked at 2,600 men and women between 18-85 years old. By adding moderate to vigorous activity to their day, participants noticed a 65 percent improvement in sleep quality. With 30-40 percent of American adults having trouble falling asleep or struggling with daytime sleepiness, it seems cardio may be exactly what the doctor ordered.

You Have Way More Energy

I know what you’re thinking: “Wait … didn’t you just say that cardio will make me tired?!” Here’s the thing, while aerobic exercise will wear you out come nighttime, in the long run, you build more stamina and enjoy a boost of energy throughout your waking hours. I could get all scientific here, but for the sake of keeping things simple, just know that your higher energy level has to do with improved heart rate, an uptake in oxygen, and all of those endorphins!

You Get Psyched About Conquering Your Day

Check out Tony Robbin’s priming exercises. The premise is by stimulating your body through rigorous movements (trampoline jumping, arm pumping, brisk walking with deep breathing) you basically psych yourself into being able to conquer your day, and maybe even the world. Trust me, this stuff actually works!

You Can Actually Have a Lot of Fun

Cardio doesn’t have to be something that you dread. If you don’t enjoy running on a treadmill or flipping heavy tires in an intense group class then—guess what—don’t! You can reap the same cardio benefits from a dance or spin class, a game of basketball, or a brisk walk in nature. Reframe your mindset and consider your cardio sessions as an hour of fun and play instead of just plain hard work. You can transform your daily workouts from a chore into something that you ultimately crave.

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