Benefits of Cardiorespiratory Exercise

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Cardiorespiratory fitness brings about numerous health benefits, most notably a decrease in risk for cardiovascular disease by 30 to 40 percent, stroke by 20 to 27 percent, type 2 diabetes, and some cancers such as colon cancer, breast cancer, lung cancer, and multiple myeloma cancers. In most cases it can lower blood pressure the same as anti-hypertensive medications. It enhances the immune system, which may result in fewer colds and illnesses and increases the good (HDL) cholesterol in the body.

Change body composition and lose body fat

One of the most common reasons people engage in cardiorespiratory exercise is to change body composition and lose body fat. Cardio helps you to maintain body weight or lose fat by burning calories, because once you deplete the immediate energy source (glycogen) that is stored in your muscles, you use energy (fuel) that is stored in your adipose (fat) tissue. Performing moderate cardio exercise for longer periods will burn high amounts of fat for immediate fuel needs. Shorter sessions, however, still burn large amounts fat through the afterburn effect, where your metabolism is raised hours after you perform the exercise. Cardio also increases your basal metabolic rate (the rate at which you burn calories at rest) by increasing muscle efficiency.

Improved mental acuity and memory

In addition, many internal adaptations occur with cardio conditioning, starting with a greater ability to handle intense cardiorespiratory exercise. When your heart becomes stronger, you are able to pump more blood through your veins more efficiently and rid your muscles of waste and carbon dioxide more quickly. An untrained heart may have to beat 75 to 100 times per minute, whereas a conditioned heart may have to beat only 40 to 60 times per minute to complete the same amount of work. Finally, in a well-conditioned heart, more hemoglobin in the blood and more capillaries are created, which subsequently increase the capacity to transport blood to where it is needed in the body. This allows better circulation to the brain, which can lead to improved mental acuity and memory

Reduce stress and improve mood

Cardiorespiratory exercise releases endorphins that improve mood. Endorphins are biomechanical substances that trigger positive feelings and well-being in the body. They also reduce stress, ward off anxiety and feelings of depression, boost self-esteem, and help improve sleep patterns. You may not notice these changes immediately, but once exercise becomes part of your routine, you will notice a general sense of well-being.

Best cardiorespiratory exercise

Best Types of Cardio Various types of cardiorespiratory exercise include machines, aerobics classes, and recreational activities. There are a variety ways to exercise your cardiorespiratory system, and it is important to find something that suits your current health and fitness level as well as your personal preferences.

Cardio Machines

The treadmill, stepper, elliptical, and arc trainer are cardio machines that involve your entire body weight. If you are a beginner or have health problems (obesity or joint problems), you may want to use these types of machines every other day in order to give your joints (ankles, knees, and hips) a rest. The bike, rower, seated stepper, and UBE (upper-body ergometer) machines are all performed seated, which takes the issue of body weight from the joints. Remember that all of these cardio machines work the large muscles of the body and can be effective for those at every fitness level. Cardio machines today are also very sophisticated, with ports for smart phones, tablets, and MP3 players and they can include built-in televisions. Many have heart rate monitors and programming that ranges from walking workouts to elite race training. Some machines have optional arm movements along with leg movements.

When choosing which machines to use in your cardio program, make sure you do a variety because each machine works your muscles in a slightly different way, and each may emphasize one muscle group over another. Monday you may exercise on the treadmill (lower body), Wednesday on the rower (more upper body), and Friday on the elliptical (upper and lower body). Another option is to do 15 minutes on the stepper (lower body) and then 15 minutes on the UBE (upper body). Or 10 minutes on the treadmill (body weight); 10 minutes on the bike (seated); and 10 minutes on the stepper (body weight), which would give your joints a break in the middle of your workout.

Make sure the machine fits your body. A bike seat that is too high or too low may be uncomfortable and cause additional stress on your knees or hips, and different brands of elliptical machines have various movement ranges, which may be awkward for someone short or tall. Keep in mind cardio machines may look intimidating to new exercisers but can be very simple to use with a proper demonstration by an experienced staff member at your gym. Don’t be afraid to ask for an introduction to the machines so that you’re able to use them

Aerobics Classes

A great variety of aerobic classes are offered through organizations and fitness centers. These include hi/lo, step, boot camp, Zumba, hip-hop, interval, water aerobics, Crossfit, sport conditioning, kickboxing, and stationary cycling. New classes are continually being offered as new genres and techniques are invented. Many classes offer introductory levels. In some classes skill may be a factor, or the class may be designed for a higher level of fitness. You may want to observe a class first to see if it is something you would like to do or are able to do. Make sure the class instructor is certified by a reputable agency for safe, effective exercise. Ask for credentials.

Aerobics classes generally begin with a light aerobic warm-up and then proceed to moderate to vigorous exercises for the majority of the class. These exercises may consist of many types of movement depending on the type of class. For example, a step class is made up of rhythmic stepping moves off a six- to eight-inch platform to music. Hi/lo is the traditional type of aerobics and is either choreographed into movement combinations or freestyle. Kickboxing mimics boxing and martial arts drills, and hip-hop and Zumba classes have their own rhythm, style, and steps. Boot camp classes are simple yet intense and mimic military-style conditioning, and sport conditioning classes mimic specific sport drills using ropes, cones, and agility ladders. Water aerobics classes may be held in shallow pools where many moves are adapted from land aerobics or may be held in deep water where participants wear flotation belts. Other water aerobics classes use aquatic exercise equipment such as pool noodles, paddles, and kickboards.

All classes offered by fitness centers or organizations generally include a description of the class format and the appropriate expectations of fitness level: beginner, intermediate, or advanced. A cool-down and stretch follow, and in some classes abdominal exercises or floor exercises are included

There are many benefits to joining a group fitness class:

  • Heart-pumping music is very motivating.
  • Camaraderie is a motivator – go with a friend, family member, or neighbor.
  • If you find a fun class, you forget you are exercising.
  • Variety keeps you from getting bored. New classes are constantly being invented.
  • Social support is inspiring; class members cheer you on.
  • There is not much commitment; you can try different classes until you find a good fit.
  • Certified fitness instructors show modifications for exercises to accommodate your fitness level.

Recreational Activities

Physical activities such as racket sports, basketball, and soccer can also be great types of aerobic activities. For most of these activities, you need specific skills as well as specialized equipment, fields, and teammates. Other recreational activities like swimming and outdoor cycling are not only great for any fitness level but can be done alone. These activities also require specific areas such as fields or pools and equipment. Finally, walking and running are ideal for anyone at any fitness level and can be done alone or with other participants anywhere. Remember that any activity that moves the large muscles of the body can be an aerobic exercise as long as you adhere to the guidelines for frequency, intensity, and time.

Recommendation for cardio Activity

Recommendations for cardio activity vary slightly among the American Heart Association, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and American College of Sports Medicine. Keep in mind that a little cardiorespiratory activity is better than none, and everyone needs to start somewhere, so do not be intimidated by these recommendations. It doesn’t matter if you have been a couch potato for years—you can start today by just walking. This simple change in behavior can improve your health, is easy to do, and costs nothing. You can do it anywhere with little equipment, and it’s enjoyable. The important thing is to get moving!

The recommendations are to participate in 150 minutes (30 minutes 5 times per week) of moderate-intensity aerobic activity or 90 minutes (30 minutes 3 times per week) of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity or a combination of the two. In addition, if you are not yet able to perform cardiorespiratory exercise for 30 minutes, you can still earn benefits of cardio exercise if you divide your time into two or three 10- to 15-minute bouts per day. This is especially important if you have a busy schedule and cannot find the time to exercise. You can surely find 10 or 15 minutes throughout the day, possibly doing 15 minutes in the morning and 15 minutes at noon or in the evening. Research has shown this cumulative exercise can have the same effects as performing cardio all at once.

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