The Benefits of Incorporating Daily Cardio Exercise

Instructor: Ian Lord

Ian is a real estate investor, MBA, former health professions educator, and Air Force veteran.

In this lesson we will describe some of the health benefits of regular cardio exercise and offer a few suggestions for how to include it in daily activities.

A Sedentary Lifestyle

Jack isn't significantly overweight, but he leads a pretty sedentary lifestyle with his office job. He sits in a chair for most of the day and doesn't get a lot of opportunity to move around. He feels out of shape and not as fit as he could be. But Jack can improve his overall health and fitness with a simple cardio-focused exercise plan. Let's take a look at how cardio exercise can benefit Jack, along with some ways to make sure he can incorporate it it into his daily life.

Benefits of Cardio Exercise

Cardio exercise, also known as aerobic exercise, requires a person to move large muscle groups to increase the body's demand for oxygen. This means anything that gets the arms, legs, and hips moving and gets the heart rate up. Moving these large muscle groups over time requires the heart to beat faster so that oxygenated blood can be delivered to the muscles to provide energy.

The American Heart Association recommends a minimum of 150 minutes a week of moderate cardio exercise. Although 30 minutes a day, five days a week, will get Jack to that minimum, he will still realize some health benefits even if he can only get in 10 or 15 minutes at a given time. Everything helps!

So what kind of benefits can Jack look forward to? For one, people who regularly exercise are less likely to die from congestive heart failure. They tend to have better blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Regular cardio exercise helps keep off extra weight, ward off illness, and strengthen the heart. With cardio exercise the body releases endorphins, which act as a natural painkiller. Many people report better coping with stress, anxiety, and depression when they are physically active.

Ways to Fit Cardio into Daily Life

Getting Jack more active only takes a few minor lifestyle changes. Some simple changes to his routine can help give him more cardio time. He could park further back in the parking lot when he gets to his job or the store, requiring him to walk more. Taking the stairs instead of the elevator is another great idea. He might be able to go for a short walk on his lunch break or after he gets home. It might even be possible for Jack to walk or ride a bike to work or to regular errands.

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