The Importance of Cardio in Your Fitness Regimen

Written by Carly Shatten, Personal Trainer @ O2 Fitness Chatham

As a personal trainer, I get a lot of questions about cardio training.  Why should I do it? What is the best way? How do I not get bored? Is it important?

The long and short of it is that cardio is really important-everyone should do it!  Cardio exercise is essential for helping to prevent cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and other chronic illness.  Additionally, cardio is really important when you are trying to lose weight.  When your heart rate is consistently elevated for an extended period of time, your body switches from using carbs to using fats for energy.

Cardio & Weight Gain

Keep in mind that cardio is also important if you are trying to gain weight!  Doing a lot of heavy lifting with no cardio can be bad for your heart.  When you increase the pressure in your blood vessels, it makes it hard for your heart to push blood out to your muscles.  Doing cardio is important to help balance that out!

In general, no matter what your fitness goals are, cardio makes your heart stronger and can lower your resting heart rate, which keeps your heart from working overtime when it doesn’t need to.

The American Heart Association recommends that EVERYONE does “moderate intensity” cardio for 150 minutes per week for heart health- this breaks down to about 30 minutes per day, 5 days a week.  The good news is that you can mix and match when you do your cardio, and you can accumulate your 30 minutes per day in 10-minute sessions.  Now you are probably wondering what “moderate intensity” means.  Moderate intensity exercise means that you are feeling a little out of breath while you talk and exercise.

This leads me to my next point- cardio with friends is much more fun than cardio alone!  Pick some form of cardio that you like to do-  rowing, elliptical, swimming, running, biking, what ever! Grab a friend, make a great playlist and go for it!

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