Cardio key to successful exercise regimen
When it comes time to lose weight, many people look to the nearby fitness center to help them shed those extra pounds. When entering a gym for the first time, newcomers are often overwhelmed by the buzz of activity and the clanking of weights coupled with the host of machines they seem to know nothing about.
While an initial foray into the gym can be intimidating, it’s important to keep in mind that one of the best ways to lose weight is something you’ve been doing almost since the day you were born. Since the moment you took your first step, you’ve been doing cardio, or cardiovascular exercise. More widely referred to as aerobic exercise, cardio has a number of benefits, not the least of which is losing weight.
• Cardio strengthens bones. Osteoporosis is a bone disease in which the bones become brittle and fragile due to tissue loss. This tissue loss can be the result of age or deficiencies in calcium or vitamin D. A workout that includes jogging or even fast walking can reduce the risk of osteoporosis because, as the National Osteoporosis Foundation (NOF) points out, these weight-bear- ing activities strengthen the skeletal system. NOF also notes that any exercise in which feet or legs are bearing the weight, including dancing and climbing, are effective cardio exercises.
• Cardio reduces body fat. Including cardio in your regular exercise routine helps to increase lean body tissue while reducing fat. If the goal of your weight loss is to look better, then including cardio in your regular routine is a great way to achieve this. While this might sound simple, the more calories you burn, the more pounds you’ll lose, and cardio has proven to be a great way to burn calories.
• Cardio can reduce blood pressure. Many people choose to lose weight not because of a New Year’s resolution, but because their doctor (or their body) has told them they need to shed weight to survive. For those with high blood pressure, cardio has proven an effective way to lower blood pressure. A 2002 study at Tulane University found that aerobic, or cardiovascular, exercise lowered blood pressure in all groups of people, whether they had pre-existing conditions or had normal blood pressure.
• Cardio can help relieve the pain of arthritis. A cardiovascular program that includes water exercise can be especially valuable to arthritis sufferers. Such exercise can help keep the joints moving while strengthening the muscles around the joints. In addition, cardiovascular exercise increases energy levels, which helps arthritis sufferers better handle some the daily tasks that have become difficult as a result of the arthritis.