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Cardio 101: Why we all need to move our bodies more

Exercise is a beautiful prescription that all of us should be refilling daily. As Harvard Medical School once put it, “think of exercise as an insurance policy that may offer both short- and long-term protection for your heart.

While we all know that we need to carve out time every single day for cardio – many of us still struggle with making it happen. If you find yourself in that category, here’s a quick 360 on all things cardio to help get you to see this marvelous practice in a different light.

Aerobic vs Anaerobic exercise: What’s the difference?

According to the Mayo Clinic, your body’s ability to use oxygen is called your aerobic capacity. When your aerobic capacity is high, your heart, lungs and blood vessels efficiently deliver large amounts of oxygen throughout your body; leaving you to feel more energized and you won’t find yourself tiring quickly

Anaerobic exercise: Is when your heart rate stays around 150 beats per minute or higher. Some examples of this can be, high intensity interval training, sprinting, swimming, cycling or doing calisthenics.

Aerobic exercise: Is when you sustain a heart rate between 120 and 150 beats per minute. Examples can be brisk walking or jogging. These workouts effectively train your body on how to use oxygen more efficiently.

The general rule of thumb when it comes to cardio

To maintain good health, adults should get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity cardiovascular exercise per week, or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity cardio per week.

You can break up those time frames however they fit with your calendar – but remember, these are the minimum amounts! Far too many people are struggling just to get to the bare minimum of these levels.

You don’t have to start from 0 to full marathon overnight — but you do have to start!

So, what exactly are the benefits of cardio?

No matter your age, and no matter where you are starting on your physical wellness journey, the simple art of moving your body provides a wealth of benefits.

Here’s a quick snapshot of the top hit list.

Aids in strengthening the heart and blood vessels

With a stronger flow of blood throughout your body, your muscles can absorb more oxygen and flush out more waste. Better cardiovascular health helps encourage the hearts’ arteries to dilate more readily, lowers your blood pressure, leads to healthier cholesterol levels, and to better blood sugar regulation.

Burns fat

Many studies have shown that those who work out consistently have lower levels of body fat and cholesterol than the sedentary adults.

Boosts overall conditioning and recovery

When your heart rate increases, you breathe faster and more deeply, maximizing the amount of oxygen in your blood.

Better sleep and mood

Cardio doesn’t just benefit the body – but also the brain. Boost your mood through the release of the feel-good chemicals, or endorphins, and watch how relaxed you feel throughout the day. Activities like running and swimming increase overall blood flow and provide our minds fresh energy and oxygen, so you will feel less agitated and anxious.

Straightforward and simple ways to incorporate this into your every day

While you can do cardio every day, you want to be alert to signs of overtraining your body is trying to tell you. This indicates you should dial back your fitness routine and give your system a chance to recover. Here are some creative ways to get your heart pumping!

  • Go for a (daily) walk,
  • Ride a bike (or a stationary one),
  • Book a HIIT class, like a spin or a boot camp,
  • Find a running route near your home (the more hills the better)
  • Hit the treadmill/stair climber for the inclines,
  • Go on a hike with a friend,
  • Join a team sport, like soccer or volleyball,
  • Opt for the stairs instead of the elevator.

This is just a small sample size of different ways you can infuse cardiovascular activity into your day-to-day life – but there are tons of other ways to kick it into high gear. If you really want a litmus test on how well your cardio is – try opting for the stairs the next chance you get. This incline puts your cardiovascular system into overdrive and will really give you a baseline on where you stand!

Now that you’ve integrated proper amounts of cardio into your routine, you need to make sure your energy levels and recovery times are at their best. This is where XLR8 comes into play. Flood your body with new life, and new waves of energy with the premium product designed to rev up your metabolism – and keep you pushing past your personal bests!

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