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The Importance of Exercise: Cardiovascular Training

In our blog ‘Strength Training’, we talked about the importance of strength training and as a recommendation, 40-60 minutes of strength/weight training every week is needed. These exercises could be from something that we can just do with our body weight such as push ups, plank, squats, pull ups and many more. This week, I would like to explore cardiovascular training and how you can include it into your exercise routine.

Please be aware, when I say we need to do endurance training. We are not going to run a marathon or do a triathlon. We actually include cardio/endurance in our daily lives most of the time; when we walk, do chores at home and even while we are doing our weekly grocery shopping. Cardio training are just exercises that challenge our heart and lungs. As a recommendation, we should be doing around 150 minutes of cardio every week. That comes down to around 20 minutes a day. If you include 2 days of weight training exercises, it makes it 30 minutes a day over 5 days.

Cardiovascular training is just as important as doing weight training. There are many benefits from cardio training; increasing strength of heart muscles, lowering blood cholesterol and many more.

Cardiovascular training helps us build and increase the muscles of the heart just like how weight training help us build muscles. By increasing the strength of our heart muscles there will be less pressure in our cardiovascular system. This is because cardiovascular training can increase the efficiency of transporting oxygen around our body. Due to the increase in strength, it can also increase the stroke volume with each beat, which means that with each beat of the heart more blood will be pumped out. As a result, this can help you lower your blood pressure.

Another benefit of doing cardiovascular training is lowering blood cholesterol levels. There are two types of cholesterols; low density lipoprotein (LDL) and high density lipoprotein (HDL). LDL is known as bad cholesterol because it causes fatty build ups in the arteries which leads to narrowing of arteries. With the arteries narrowing, it is harder for blood to flow through causing an increase in blood pressure. HDL on the other hand is the good cholesterol in our body. HDL absorbs the bad cholesterol in your body and stores them in the liver. The liver then flushes the bad cholesterol out of your system. Cardiovascular training raises HDL in the body which induces the decrease of LDL. As a result, the arteries will be less narrow which will also bring down your blood pressure.

Some people think cardio is really boring but you can make if fun. If doing long walk or jogging isn’t your thing, you can try some high intensity interval training (also known as HIIT), go play a sport you enjoy or even go dancing with someone. The great thing about cardio is that it can be done anywhere, it is also a good opportunity to start a new hobby too!

Now you know the benefits of cardio, go out there and move your body. With this, it wraps up our 3 part series on why we should exercise. I hope now you know the importance of exercise and will take out some time from your busy day to keep your body healthy!

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