Let’s face it. Most of us hate doing cardio exercises.
But cardio is a key component of a successful exercise program.
When we exercise muscles in our bodies they become stronger and the heart is no exception.
Cardio makes our hearts stronger by increasing our body’s demand for oxygenated blood.
Our heart ensures oxygenated blood is moved throughout our body during exercise by increasing the number of times it beats per minute.
The more contractions of a muscle the stronger it becomes and when the heart is stronger it makes adaptions and is able to squeeze more blood out of the heart at one time and can do so in less beats per minute than an unexercised heart.
Here’s a great example:
Lets pretend you exercised your left hand; it’s now grown strong and you did not exercise your right hand.
Lets also pretend your left and right hands are now hearts.
If I was to put a lemon in each hand and asked you to squeeze them once; a lot of lemon juice would come out of the left “heart” because it was strong enough to squeeze a lot of juice out at once.
However, the right “heart” wasn’t strong enough and squeezed out only a tiny bit of juice. It would have to squeeze two more times in order to squeeze out the same amount of juice as the left.
If your heart rate increased dramatically because you were to drink your weight in coffee or if something were to scare you this would not improve your cardiovascular fitness.
Cardiovascular fitness is only improved when there is an increased elevated heart rate directly related to your body’s need for more oxygenated blood.
Cardio is Important!
Having a good physique is awesome, but having a healthy lifestyle is the priority.
There are many benefits of having a healthy strong heart. some of these benefits include a lower resting heart rate, lower risk of having heart disease, increase in blood volume to the rest of the body and most importantly it reduces the risk of death.
Now that you know the importance of cardio training, here’s a few tips on how to make it more enjoyable:
If you’re doing some less intensive cardio like brisk walking, elliptical or jogging, you can optimize that time and start listening to audiobooks.
It’ll make your mind off the pain and you’ll be able to learn about new topics.
Sign up for the amazon’s audible free trial and choose any book that fits your interests.
If you’re struggling to find the time to read more books, give it a try.
Try to implement this time optimization mentality in every aspect of your life.
Whenever you have a task that doesn’t require your full concentration, try to find a way to fully optimize that time.
Even mundane tasks like washing the dishes or cleaning your house can become opportunities to learn, relax, and to listen to stories you might have never listened to otherwise.
Thanks to audiobooks and my cardio sessions, I am now able to read or listen to several books each month. Before, I only managed to read a handful each year, maybe a dozen if I was lucky.
Audiobooks are a complete gamechanger.
If long cardio sessions aren’t for you, you should try HIIT.
High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is when you alternate between high and low intensity exercises or between high intensity exercise and a short period of rest.
For example, a sprinting up a hill followed by a jog back down is interval training. Or a set of burpees followed by bodyweight rows.
This is will make your cardio sessions much shorter and will save you loads of time with increased results.
This one is a no-brainer.
If I’m not listening to an audiobook or some music during a cardio session, the intensity and the duration of my workout drop by half.
A research team at the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center developed a study to measure what impact, if any, listening to lively music would have on exercise tolerance during cardiac stress testing. Doctors routinely use these tests to assess a patient’s heart health. As part of the test, researchers measured changes in heart rate and blood pressure, and noted any indications of chest pain or changes in heart rhythm as participants underwent physically stressful exercise.
The tests are often done on a treadmill, following specific protocol in which the treadmill increases in both speed and incline through three, 3-minute stages. In the final stage, the treadmill moves at 3.4 miles per hour at a 14-percent grade. Most of these tests are designed to last up to 20 minutes. The average patient lasts 7-8 minutes.
For this study, they divided 127 participants, all of whom had diabetes and hypertension, into two groups. One listened to up-tempo music, while the other group had earbuds in but did not listen to music.
The group that listened to music was able to outlast the non-music group by an average of 50.6 seconds. Again, being able to go an extra minute may not seem like much, but “after 6 minutes, you feel like you are running up a mountain, so even being able to go 50 seconds longer means a lot,” said the study’s lead author, Waseem Shami, MD.
“Our findings reinforce the idea that upbeat music has a synergistic effect in terms of making you want to exercise longer and stick with a daily exercise routine,” said Shami. “When doctors are recommending exercise, they might suggest listening to music, too.”
If you you’re not doing this already, make sure you bring Bluetooth earphones to the gym, install spotify or amazon music on your smartphone and listen to fast-paced music you actually like, not those crap commercial songs that most gyms play.