6 Reasons Why You Shouldn't Skip Cardio

6 Reasons Why You Shouldn't Skip Cardio

Plus: 5 fun and easy ways to add a cardio session – or three – into your weekly routine!
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If you avoid cardio like the plague, this one is for you. When it comes to maintaining a healthy lifestyle, incorporating cardio into your weekly workout routine is just plain smart. Cardio exercises, also known as aerobic exercises, offer a plethora of benefits that extend beyond weight loss and can enhance your overall health and well-being. Here's why you should add cardio to your routine, plus five creative ways to do it.

Why Should You Add Cardio to Your Weekly Workout Routine?

1. Improves Heart Health

Research shows that cardiovascular exercise strengthens the heart and improves its efficiency in pumping blood. Regular cardio can reduce the risk of heart disease, lower blood pressure, and improve cholesterol levels.

2. Enhances Lung Capacity

Engaging in cardio workouts increases lung capacity and improves the efficiency of your respiratory system. This means your body can use oxygen more effectively, enhancing overall stamina and endurance.

3. Aids Weight Management

Cardio exercises burn calories and help create a calorie deficit, which is vital for weight loss. Additionally, cardio boosts metabolism, aiding in maintaining a healthy weight.

4. Boosts Mental Health

Regular cardio exercise releases endorphins, which are natural mood lifters. It can reduce symptoms of depression, anxiety, and stress, promoting overall mental well-being.

5. Improves Sleep Quality

Cardio exercise can enhance sleep quality by helping you fall asleep faster and deepening your sleep. It can also help regulate sleep patterns, making you feel more rested and rejuvenated.

6. Increases Longevity

Engaging in regular cardio exercise is associated with increased lifespan and a lower risk of premature death from various causes, including cardiovascular disease and cancer.

Two friends having fun kayaking for cardio

5 Ways to Incorporate Cardio Into Your Weekly Routine

1. Outdoor Adventures

Do your weight training during the week, then on the weekend, head outside for some hiking, kayaking, or mountain biking. These activities not only provide a great cardio workout but also allow you to enjoy nature and explore new places.

2. High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)

HIIT involves short bursts of intense exercise followed by brief rest periods. This can be done with various exercises like sprinting, cycling, or bodyweight movements. It's efficient and effective, often requiring just 20-30 minutes to complete a full workout. Bonus: you can incorporate HIIT into your weight-lifting session and get the benefits of strength training and cardio simultaneously!

3. Dance Workouts

Join a dance class or follow online dance workout videos. Styles like Zumba, hip-hop, salsa, or even ballet can provide a fun and engaging way to get your heart pumping while learning new moves. Or, round up some friends and head to the hottest club in town and dance the night away! 

4. Group Fitness Classes

Try group fitness classes such as spin classes, kickboxing, or boot camp sessions. The group environment can be motivating and push you to work harder while enjoying the camaraderie of fellow participants.

5. Sports and Games

Pick a night during the week to skip the gym and engage in sports like basketball, soccer, tennis, or even pick-up games with friends. These activities are not only enjoyable but also provide a solid cardiovascular workout without feeling like a traditional exercise session.

By adding these cardio activities to your weekly routine, you can enjoy the numerous health benefits while keeping your workouts fresh and engaging. So lace up those sneakers, find an activity you love, and get your heart pumping!