Cardio training helps us become not only slimmer but also healthier and even happier! It is proven by scientists! You need to know about the effects of cardio on the body. Many of which will surprise you!
1. Cardio keeps muscles toned
Cardiovascular exercises will not help you to pump up, but if you perform them often enough and intensively, you can keep your muscles in good shape and slightly increase their volume. There have been 14 studies which showed that if a person performs cardio exercises with medium or high intensity for 45 minutes four days a week, the leg muscles increase by 5-6%.
2. Aerobic exercise improves heart and lung health
Aerobic exercise, especially swimming, helps your body to more effectively use oxygen. Thanks to cardiovascular training, the heart rate and breathing at rest are reduced, which indicates a healthy cardiovascular system.
A 2008 study compared blood pressure, cholesterol and other heart health indicators in 46,000 people involved in swimming, jogging, walking and leading a sedentary lifestyle. Scientists have found that regularly exercising runners and swimmers had the best indicators of heart health, did not experience high blood pressure and were not exposed to high cholesterol levels.
3. Cardio reduces the stiffness of the heart muscles
With age, many people move less, which increases the stiffness of the muscles of the heart, including the left chamber – the muscle, which plays a key role in supplying the body with fresh blood saturated with oxygen.
Study of Erin Howden in 2017 showed that regular cardiac exercise helps prevent stiffness of the heart muscle, and even reverse this process. Study participants were divided into two groups. One group, under the supervision of scientists, did cardio exercises 4–5 days a week, while the other carried out asanas and exercises to develop balance. Two years later, people from the first group noted significant improvements in the function of the heart.
4. Cardio has a positive effect on intestinal function
A small 2017 study showed that cardio exercises can change the intestinal microflora, regardless of diet and other factors. The subjects trained 3–5 times a week for six weeks, after which they increased the amount of butyric acid, which reduces inflammation and oxidative stress and increases local immunity.
5. Cardio improves skin condition
Research by scientists from McMaster University showed that people who regularly exercise after the age of 40 have better skin than less mobile peers. The general condition of the skin of active participants is reminiscent of indicators of twenty or thirty-year-old people.
It is not yet clear how exercise affects the health of the skin, but scientists have found that after exercises the level of interleukin-15 is increased in participants.
6. Cardio cheers you up
According to the Harvard Medical School, aerobic exercises simultaneously tone and relax, help fight depression and stress. Perhaps the positive effect of cardiovascular exercise on a person’s well-being and the mood is related to their ability to reduce levels of stress hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol.
7. Training helps to fight depression
Cardio not only improves mood in healthy people but also helps depression patients. In a pilot study conducted in 2001, people with depression of varying severity walked on a treadmill for 30 minutes for 10 days. Scientists have found that activity has helped significantly reduce the symptoms of depression.
8. Cardio protects the brain from age-related changes
Often, before the onset of Alzheimer’s disease, older people suffer from mild cognitive impairment (MCI), which worsens memory, language skills, thinking and the ability to make judgments.
In a recent study, scientists tested the effect of physical activity on people aged 60 to 88 suffering from MCI. The subjects for 12 weeks walked 30 minutes a day. As a result, they have improved neural connections in many areas of the brain. The researchers suggested that this could increase cognitive reserve — the ability of the brain to create new neural connections.