What Does Cardio Do for Your Heart’s Health?

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“I am so excited to hear that you are getting ready to go and do cardio!”

“Cardio: it’s not just for runners and sports enthusiasts. All sorts of different people rely on aerobic exercise for heart health, weight management, and mental well-being.”

“Aerobic exercise is a vital part of living a healthy lifestyle. It increases your endurance, strengthens your heart muscles, helps you think more clearly, and can even help prevent depression.”

“But it seems like there are always questions about the health benefits of aerobic exercise. Let’s clear things up with a few answers to some common inquiries.”

“What can cardio do for my heart?”

“Regular aerobic exercise is actually one of the best ways to lower your risk for heart disease and stroke. It reduces blood pressure, improves blood vessel function, and boosts blood vessel growth. All of this helps improve your heart’s ability to pump blood.”

“So how much cardio is enough?”

“The American Heart Association recommends that healthy adults get at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise each week (cardio that leaves you sweating but able to talk). That translates into 30 minutes at least five days a week or 20 minutes at least three days a week. But that’s just the minimum. You can and should do more.”

“Can I do other types of exercise, too?”

“Absolutely! Although the best results come from aerobic exercise, adding strength training to your routine will help you build strong muscles and bones.”

“How do I know what exercises to do?”

“Aerobic exercise means continuous movement that is enough for you to get your heart and lungs working harder, more so than when you are just sitting around or walking. The best way to tell if you’re doing aerobic exercise is if, within a few minutes of starting it, you are breathing more heavily and your heart is beating harder. It should be a little uncomfortable at first, but not too much.”

“A good way to start is with brisk walking or cycling. If that’s too fast for you, you can start out slower and build up over time.”

“What kind of activity burns the most calories?”

“You might think that the more strenuous an activity is, the more calories you’ll burn. But it’s not true. The intensity of the workout doesn’t matter as much as how long you do it for.”

“Aerobic exercises like walking, jogging, or swimming can help you lose weight and lower your risk for heart disease and stroke. But you don’t have to run a marathon or go to the gym every day to stay healthy.”

“What can I do on days when I don’t feel like going for a jog?”

“If your schedule is too busy for 30 minutes of exercise five times a week, try doing three 10-minute sessions instead, or two 15-minute sessions. Or increase the intensity of your routine by walking or running faster.”

“Aerobic exercise is an important part of a healthy lifestyle. From lowering your chances for heart disease and stroke to helping you maintain a healthy weight, it provides many benefits. Just be sure to check with your doctor before starting any new physical activity.”

“Enjoy the healthy benefits of aerobic exercise today! Be sure to check out other articles in this series on heart health.”

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