The Importance of Cardio Exercise

Many individuals view cardio exercise as a form of torture. However, if you inform yourself of all the benefits cardio exercise has to offer, you may well change your view. Cardio exercise is not only for super athletes training to run marathons. The benefits extend out into many areas of your lives beside physical fitness.

Cardio: A Heart Healthy Choice

One of the main benefits of partaking in cardio exercise is that it does wonders for your heart. Cardio gets the blood circulating and pumping to your heart. Your heart is a muscle and needs to be worked out just like any other muscle. Just because you cannot see it, does not mean it is not in need of some tender loving care.

The stronger you make your heart, the better it will work for you. Your heart will not have to pump as hard to get the job done. Walking uphill or up and down stairs can leave you short of breath but if you partake in cardio exercise, you will notice that this will change.

Cardio for Maintaining a Healthy Weight

Cardio exercise also benefits everyone as it enables you to maintain your metabolism and, therefore, maintain a healthy weight. Obesity is a crisis in our nation today and cardio exercise is an excellent place to start – along with diet, of course. Cardio burns calories and gets the heart pumping. Cardio exercise will assist in weight loss; however, it can also assist in maintaining it. It is a win/win situation.

Move Faster to Sleep Better

Cardio exercise has been known for its fast-paced, energetic movement. This also assists you in sleeping better at night. Studies have shown that people who partake in cardio exercise have fewer sleep issues.

The better you sleep, the more energy you will have for cardio. The more energy you have for cardio the more benefits you will reap.

Reduce Stress

Many individuals in today’s multi-tasking, high-paced life tend to turn to things such as alcohol, overeating, or smoking to reduce stress. However, those things may work temporarily but they do not work in the long run – they hurt your body.

Cardio exercise promotes the release of endorphins, which are natural mood boosters. Once you start incorporating cardio exercise into your life, you will see a natural boost in your mood.

Fewer Diseases

Cardio exercises reduce diseases such as:

* Heart disease
* Lung disease
* High blood pressure
* Diabetes

With all these benefits, it is easy to see why including cardio exercise into your weekly routine is a wise choice indeed.

Five Ways to Find More Time to Exercise

When it comes to exercise, we all have good intentions. First, we make a decision to exercise, next we announce it to the world, and finally, we decide to go all out and purchase new equipment, clothing, or even a gym membership. Then something happens, or rather does not happen. We cannot seem to find the time or the desire to finish what we wholeheartedly started.

Whenever we incorporate something new into our life, whether it is diet or exercise, we must first realize that it is, in fact, new. We must incorporate a new habit into our lives on a daily basis. And, therein lies the problem. We are so stuck in our patterns that we do not even begin to know how to add something else onto our to-do list.

1. Put It in Writing – Put the word exercise or Zumba or power walk on your calendar in bright red ink. Pick a date and time every week and put it everywhere from a cell phone reminder to an email to yourself. Putting things in writing seems to have a commitment to accomplish that task attached to it.

2. Review and Replace – Rather than trying to cram one more thing into an already hectic schedule, examine that schedule and see what you can delete and replace with your new-found love of exercise. Perhaps an hour of Facebook time or game playing on the computer can be deleted and exercise put in its place. Do these things only on the weekends and free up some time for exercise during the week.

3. Take a Good Look at Your Schedule – Perhaps you could go to bed 30 minutes earlier, three times per week and get up 30 minutes earlier three times per week. Not only will you see that this minor shift will give you the extra time in the morning, but it will change the entire outlook of your day.

4. Give Something Up – Often times when we want to achieve a new goal we fall short because we are not willing to give something up. We want to add this new goal to an already packed calendar. Perhaps, giving up Happy Hour every other Friday or giving up sleeping late two Saturdays per month will do the trick.

5. Lunch Hour – Take a good long hard look at your lunch hour. Is there any way that you could take 30 minutes for a brisk walk and then the other 30 for actual eating? The phone calls you were going to make or emails you were going to send will be there waiting for you tomorrow.

Whether you realize it or not, finding more time to exercise is not simply a matter of time, it is a matter of practice, thinking, and creating as well. When you have the incentive, you will find the time.

What is a Healthful Diet?

A healthful diet provides a combination of energy and nutrients. It has the characteristics of being adequate, moderate, balanced, and varied. Whether you’re young, old, overweight, underweight, healthy or ill, if you keep these characteristics in mind, you will be able to select foods that provide you with the optimal combination of nutrients and energy each day.

Ok let’s break this down a little. An adequate diet provides enough of the energy, nutrients, and fibre to maintain a person’s health. A diet may be inadequate in only one area, or many areas. For example, many people in Canada do not eat enough vegetables and therefore are not consuming enough of the fibre and micronutrients vegetables provide. However, their intake of protein, fat, and carbohydrates may be adequate. In fact, some people who eat too few vegetables are overweight or obese because they exceed their energy needs. On the other hand, a generalized state of under nutrition can occur if an individual’s diet contains an inadequate level of several nutrients for a long period of time. A diet that is adequate for one person may not be adequate for another. For example the energy needs of a young woman who is lightly active are approximately 7100 KJ to 8400 KJ (1700-2000 calories) each day, whereas a highly active male athlete may require more than 4000 calories a day to support his body’s demands. These two individuals differ greatly in their activity level and in their quantity of body fat and muscle mass, which means they require very different levels of fat, carbohydrates, protein, and other nutrients to support their daily needs.

A healthful diet is moderate. Moderation.refers to eating any foods in moderate amounts – not too much and not too little. If we eat too much or too little of certain foods, we cannot reach our health goals. For example, some people drink as much as 1875 ML of soft drinks on some days. Drinking this much contributes an extra 765 calories of energy to a person’s diet. To allow for the extra energy and avoid weight gain, most people would need to reduce their food intake significantly. This could mean eliminating many healthful food choices. In contrast, people who drink mostly water, or other beverages that contain little or no energy can consume more nourishing foods that will support their health. Excess intake of sweets and fats are associated with overweight and obesity and high salt intake is associated with high blood pressure and heart disease.

A balanced diet contains the combinations of foods that provide proper proportions of nutrients. The body needs many types of foods in varying amounts to maintain health. For example, fruits and vegetables are excellent sources of fibre, vitamin c, potassium, and magnesium. In contrast meats are not good sources of these nutrients. However, meats are excellent sources of protein, iron, zinc, and copper. By eating the proper balance of all healthful foods, including fruits, vegetables, and meats, we can be confident that we’re consuming the balanced nutrition we need to maintain health.

And finally – a healthful diet is varied. Variety refers to eating many different foods from the different food groups on a regular basis. With thousands of healthful foods to choose from, trying new foods is a fun and easy way to vary your diet. Eat a new vegetable each week it substitute one food for another, such as raw spinach on your turkey sandwich in place of iceberg lettuce. Selecting a variety of foods increases the likelihood that you will consume the multitude of nutrients your body needs. As an added benefit, eating a varied diet prevents boredom and helps you avoid the potential of getting into a food rut.

Resources
1.) Janice Thompson, Melinda Manore, Judy Sheeshka –  Nutrition: A functional Approach
2.) http://www.dietitians.ca – Dietitians of Canada
3.) http://www.5to10aday.com – 5-to-10-a-day for better health.