Love it or dread it

Do you alter your feet to fit into a shoe or get the right sized shoe? I believe this is the biggest predicament of modern day living. We are cutting and crippling ourselves to fit in. The actions that affect our health are unconscious and habitual. Hence, control over health and life has become very minimal. We are involved in a common practice of comfort and convenience. This has become our objective and desire. However, what we are not able to realize is that this arrangement has crippled the body of its true potential… your body’s’ capacity to be fit and healthy. Simple movements such as walking up the stairs or simply walking have become straining and tiresome.

Cardio, short for cardiovascular exercise, is one fitness aspect which is the answer to your dilemma. It gets your heart rate up and increases blood circulation. It is an integral component of any fitness plan. Some people love it, and some dread it. You walk, jog, run, swim, cycle to exercise and improve your cardiovascular capacity. There are various methods and variations of cardio exercise, and an equal number of health benefits to it. Here, I’ll outline a few benefits that go beyond burning excess calories and fat loss.

Improves heart health: The heart muscle is like any other muscle in the body and requires exercise to help strengthen it. If you don’t work on it, over a period of time, it weakens. By getting your heart rate up and pumping on a regular basis, you keep it strong and healthy. Your resting heart rate goes down, which means less strain on your heart and more capacity to handle stress. If you get tired walking up a flight or two of stairs or are unable to walk fast even for a short length of time, please understand that you need to start exercising. Regular physical activity helps prevent a wide range of health issues and concerns including stroke, diabetes, depression, certain types of cancer, arthritis, et cetera.

Increased metabolic health:  Cardio exercise increases the efficiency of your metabolism. Increased metabolism will help you maintain your weight. An intense cardio session will definitely see an increased metabolic rate. Exercise also boosts energy increasing strength and endurance.

Increased circulation: Cardio supports proper circulation of blood, nutrients, hormones etc. It’s also useful to wash away both gross and subtle waste and toxins from the body. Proper circulation unburdens the body of heaviness and lethargy and gives the feeling of lightness. Your breathing feels eased and relaxed.

Improved hormonal profile: Exercise increases the feel good hormones in your body which eases symptoms of depression and fatigue. People regularly on cardio workouts show less stress and anxiety. Need an emotional lift or want to just get out a day gone bad from your system, half an hour of exercise will ensure that you feel much better.

Improved post exercise recovery ability: Those who go through a hard session at the gym can benefit immensely through a cardio session on the treadmill or elliptical, cycling or light jogging. Cardio brings more oxygen rich blood to the muscle tissue and helps in the repairing and rebuilding process. Building muscle is a combination of overloading stimulus followed by rest to allow the muscle to heal itself, but maintaining balance is the key and can be learnt from your trainer.

*As a general guideline, please try and get 30 -45 minutes of exercise 3-5 times a week. If you have specific fitness goals, you will need to plan properly and commit time and effort accordingly to meet the goal.

Get Fit with Sandesh

The author is a certified professional fitness instructor, founder and master trainer at Rage Fitness and a fitness columnist who specialises in mixed martial arts