Cardio Benefits for Beginners – A Comprehensive Guide to Start Cardio
What is one very peculiar feature about our lifestyles today? We think we work a lot because we are always exhausted. And yet, we are getting unhealthier every passing day. The sedentary lifestyle that we lead might be helping us making money, but it is not doing our body any favors. People who have grown up walking for miles today look for elevators to reach even the first floor.
Why Cardio is Important?
The need to exercise is more of a necessity today. People are joining gyms and subscribing to costly membership packages, though they are unable to continue. Why? It’s because people want rapid results. They go after strength exercises (because biceps and abs are cool), but soon realize that they are unable to continue. What’s the reason? Our bodies, so much accustomed to the sedentary lifestyle, are unable to cope up with the sudden change in routine. This, accompanied by our unhealthy diets, ensures that we give up after a few short days of pain and exhaustion. However, there is a better approach towards a healthier lifestyle without enduring the pain – ‘Cardio’.
There are ample resources that are available online or offline that provide information on cardio for beginners. These can be useful for the newbies to learn the basics and help at the beginning of the routine on their own. This guide is intended to grow the basic understanding of cardio along with its various health benefits that are important to know for beginning the regime. It will cover all the aspects of cardio for beginners that must be kept in mind for getting the desired results.
Health Benefits of Cardio
Cardio, or cardiovascular exercises, simply focus on elevating our heartbeat and blood flow. Also known as aerobic exercise, these exercises do not require fancy gym equipment. Most of them can be done within our homes itself. Cardio is the most basic, yet really important exercise you could incorporate into your daily routine. Cardio exercise could range from simple ones like walking and jogging to moderate ones like swimming and running. Most cardio exercises are prolonged in nature, i.e., they must be done for a long duration of time. The main objective in all these exercises remains the same: to elevate our heart rate and make us sweat. It is much simpler than strength exercise, though it does require immense patience and willpower. However, in return to this, there are a huge number of benefits of doing cardio.
Here are some of the benefits you can reap through cardio:
1. Weight Loss:
Cardio ensures the use of the entire body for working out. In order to work, our body naturally requires some fuel. Once the readily-available glucose is exhausted, our body turns to our fat reserves and start burning off the fat to keep going. This results in fat loss and eventually weight loss. Most people resort to things like crunches to get rid of belly fat, but truthfully, there is no point in losing fat from one isolated region. The best approach is to lose fat overall and cardio is probably the best option for that. Apart from this, it also improves our muscle tone by removing the excess fat from various parts of our body. This means, we lose some weight and get a toned body.
2. Improving Stamina:
Most of us remember watching Dragon Ball Z as kids, where the Saiyans increase their strength after each battle. Though we are not the remnants of some alien warrior race, our body does work in a similar manner. Once we start subjugating our body to more work, some internal changes take place that makes our body more efficient. These changes are actually a signal to our body to match up with the requirements of the owner, that is, we. The heart becomes stronger, hence it is able to beat more and pump more blood into the body. With the more efficient supply of oxygen, the muscles are able to work more with the same amount of energy. This greatly enhances our overall stamina and enables us to work out for longer durations of time. Stamina is a really important factor, as the lack of stamina is one of the biggest outcomes of our lazy lifestyle.
3. Fewer Diseases:
Cardiac diseases are one of the most prominent causes of death today. The reason behind it is the inefficient functioning of the heart due to factors like excess fat and cholesterol, which may result in diseases like coronary heart disease, type-2 diabetes, and heart attacks. However, regular cardio ensures that our heart continues to work efficiently, thereby greatly reducing the risk of cardiovascular diseases. Cardio also increases our sensitivity to insulin and glucose metabolism, thus preventing the chances of diabetes. Also, the reduction of cholesterol greatly reduces the probability of getting a sudden heart attack.
4. Better Mental Health:
If you thought that cardio will only affect you physically, you were wrong. Regular cardio has been shown to have a huge positive impact on the mental health of people. This includes improved mood, resistance to stress, and avoiding depression. People who regularly engage in cardiovascular exercises are happier and more efficient mentally than people who don’t. Cardio has been also shown to improve concentration.
5. Stronger Bones:
Not only does cardio improve our muscles and mind, but it also positively impacts our bones. Stronger bones are one of the biggest cardio benefits. Regular cardio has been shown to increase bone density, which is an essential factor for healthy bones. Cardio also prevents bone-related conditions like osteoporosis and other bone issues that come with age.
6. Better Immunity:
Cardio benefits are still greater than just bones, muscles, and mind. Cardio exercises aid us in improving immunity to a variety of diseases. A lot of minor diseases like flu, viral fever, a common cold can be prevented by just doing cardio on a regular basis. It also improves our metabolism, which means our food will be converted to energy more efficiently and there would be less production of fat. Also, cardio gives us the ability to recover from existing diseases or any minor disease we might accidentally suffer from.
7. Better Sleep:
Lack of sleep is one of the biggest nuisance people face in today’s lifestyle. This is because we tend to work when it is time to sleep, and then we want to sleep when it is time to work. But incorrect sleep patterns are a more severe problem than people realize. Thankfully, one of the cardio benefits is that it positively impacts our sleep patterns. We tend to fall asleep at the right time and not wake up abruptly. This improvement in sleep patterns enables us to be more productive in all spheres of life.
How Cardio Can Benefit the Beginners?
Cardio can be considered as the set of selective workout techniques that are specifically selected to affect the activity of the heart. These sets are designed in such a manner that it helps in improving the conditions of the heart and lungs. An appropriate cardio regime can be an excellent way to get a healthier heart and reducing the chances of cardiac ailments.
The importance of cardio exercises is well known to people. It is quite useful in keeping your heart fit and losing the excess weight. Cardio regime helps in burning the calories as well as improving the health of the heart and lungs.
The sets and techniques followed for cardio are quite dependent on the instructors and the available resources. These can be considered as exercises for developing the capacity of the heart and lungs. These are divided into different categories like activities for beginners, intermediate, and advanced level users.
The difficulty arises when you are about to start. The plethora of information on cardio for beginners confuses most of the people. So a majority of the people don’t understand how to start with the cardio regime. This post is intended to clear your confusion on this.
How to Start With Cardio?
There are three basic aspects of a cardio regime that needs to be followed for getting the best results. This can be divided into the following three areas:
- Activity Selection
These three areas must be given equal consideration while planning out cardio for beginners. If you ignore any of these areas then you will not be able to get the desired advantages of the cardio regime.
1. Activity Selection
This is the first step in taking the correct step towards your cardio for beginners’ regime. You need to select the activities after serious thinking. This is the point that is going to make or break your plans for beginning cardio.
The selection of activity depends on many factors that are discussed below:
a) Interest areas:
This is one of the most confusing points for beginners who are looking to step in the cardio regime. There are several activities that you may choose as per your liking. You may go for the simplest activity of brisk walking or may choose a harder activity of cycling, swimming, aerobics, running, dancing, and more. All these activities are considered as the simplest way of beginning the cardio regime. You may select any of these activities depending on your interest.
b) Health Conditions:
This is to be kept in mind for choosing the right activity. For example, if you are overweight and willing to start running, then it may be quite harmful to your knees. Therefore, you must choose some other activity that doesn’t bring in other complications.
c) Available time:
You must select the activity that you may continue on a daily basis. It is quite important to select the activity that fits in your busy schedule. This will help you in continuing with the activity without disturbing your routine.
d) Dietary habits:
This is not directly related to the cardio regime. It is better to choose an activity that helps you in burning the extra calories that you gain from your diet. This helps you in getting the best results from your efforts in cardio.
This is the second step in preparing a perfect cardio plan for you. After selecting the activity, you need to make a schedule for your cardio plan. This shall be considered as the benchmark to get success in the cardio regime.
Discussed below are the tips that will help you in scheduling your cardio regime:
a) Keep an easy schedule:
This is the area where most of the cardio beginners make a mistake. You must keep the schedule simple that can be followed easily; else, you may be losing heart after two-three days.
For example, start with the activity of running. Then you shall make a routine of running for 2 to 3 kilometers per day for the first week. If you start with running for 5/6 kilometers in the first week, you will definitely end up by stopping after 3 or 4 days. So it is important to start on with a simple and light activity schedule.
b) Set a warm-up routine:
This is quite important to keep a few minutes before the activity for warming up. This is essential to safeguard you from the accidental sprain and stress that you may develop by abrupt physical activities. Apart from this, it also helps in relaxing the muscles for better performance in the activity.
c) Keep track of activity:
It is ideally suggested that you must keep a chart for the daily activity schedule to track the benefits of the cardio regime. As a beginner, you must keep track of the activity that you have selected. This helps you in making plans for the second level of cardio exercises.
d) Set routine for relaxing:
As you have made a pre-activity warm-up routine, you have to set the routine to cool down after completing the activity. You must keep some minutes for relaxing and getting back in the normal conditions for cooling down. This will help you in getting the real benefits of the cardio regime.
e) Weekly increment schedule:
All those who are beginning cardio for the first time shall follow a planned schedule for increasing the activity. It is advised to increase 15% to 20% of the overall activity after three or four weeks depending on the other factors like lung capacity, stamina, and bodily strength.
3. Observations after the First Month of Cardio
This is the time to review what you have earned during the one-month cardio regime. It is important because of many reasons; like increasing the activity time, analyzing the benefits, and preparing for the second level. These observations are made on the basis of the difference among the parameters like body weight, the capacity of the lungs, and others that are feasible for you.
Cardio can be made quite simple and effective for beginners by keeping the above three aspects in focus.