When you think of the word cardio, what do you think of...? Huffing and puffing, dripping in sweat, running endless kilometres on end, the dreaded burpee? What if you knew the amazing benefits of it and what it does for your body?

Cardio training consists of aerobic exercise (the ability of the body to take in and use oxygen during exercise), which is basically anything that gets you up and moving, and your heart rate up continuously for longer than 60 seconds. There are lots of different ways you can perform cardio training including; running, bike riding, swimming, HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) circuit training, boxing and even power walking. But what does this actually do for your body?

Some of the benefits of cardio training include:

  • Increase in strength of your heart and lungs

  • Improved heart health

These are two of the first benefits of aerobic exercise. Your heart muscle is like every other muscle in your body, meaning it must be worked to become stronger. If you don’t work it however, it will become weaker, which can cause a variety of negative health issues. Getting your heart pumping during aerobic exercise on a regular basis, is enough to keep it active and in shape, keeping you healthy and happy! Strengthening your heart muscle will also help you perform regular everyday tasks, such as walking up stairs or even running for the bus.

  • Reduced risk of heart disease and some types of cancer

  • Increased metabolism

Regular cardio exercise also improves your metabolism. Along with improving the strength of your heart muscle, cardio exercise also increases the rate of other processes in the body, including your metabolism. Higher intensity exercise, such as HIIT circuit training, will create a more significant change in your metabolism. An increase in the process of your metabolism means it will be easier to maintain your weight (or to lose weight)

  • Improved hormone profile

Cardio training can cause considerable changes in the hormone profile in your body. It releases ‘feel good’ (endorphins) hormones which help decrease symptoms of depression and fatigue, as well as hormones that decrease appetite (and who doesn't love that). People who perform regular cardio training often are happier, and have a more positive outlook on life due to getting the stress relief and feel good benefits from these hormones. 

  • Improved recovery ability

Cardio exercise (mostly lower-moderate intensity) can reduce your recovery time, by removing by products (such as hydrogen ions which are found in lactic acid) which may lead to DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness). This is what leaves you sore the next day after exercising. The lower intensity exercise increases oxygen rich blood flow to muscles, improving the repair and rebuilding process. 

  • Management of diabetes 

  • Weight loss

  • Increased bone density 

  • Better sleep 

  • Temporary relief from depression and anxiety 

  • Increase in energy 

  • Reduced stress

  • Increasing muscle mass


And the list goes on and on… so basically, cardio training is EXTREMELY good for you, your health and wellbeing as well as maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

If you are just getting started with cardio exercise, it is important not to over do it. Building your aerobic fitness level can be done by performing an aerobic exercise for at least 20 minutes, 3 times a week. Consistency is key for building aerobic fitness and it is important to remember that it is easier to maintain fitness than it is to build it. In saying that, building your fitness takes time and you can’t expect changes to happen over night. Start slowly, exercising at a low intensity for a short (ish) period of time until you feel you can go for longer. Start to increase your intensity and duration to build your aerobic fitness, slowly over time. 

Remember… ‘Your body can stand almost anything. It’s your mind that you have to convince’

Happy training xxx

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published