Cardio is the short form of cardiovascular exercise. It is supposed to get up your heart rate and increase blood circulation.
Cardio has several benefits such as:
- Improved heart health
- Increased heart metabolism
- Improved hormonal profile
- Improved recovery ability
- Management of diabetes
One of the things that people need to know about cardio is that it’s important to look at intensity and duration. These two factors are supposed to change according to goals.
Intensities up to 60% mainly burn fat. Higher than that you start depleting glycogen stores (storage form of glucose – sugars). The process of breaking down fat is called lipolysis. When consuming fat (or an excessive amount of any other substrate), fat gets stored as adipose tissue. Triglycerides (stored fat) undergo the process of lipolysis when there is high epinephrine and low insulin levels in the blood. They then get released into the blood as free fatty acids and are available for cellular uptake and to generate energy.
Duration is important in regards of how many calories you burn. The longer you exercise, the more fat you will start burning as well. First, carbohydrates are stored and then fats are burnt.
To me, the goal is to burn fat in order to stay lean. Doing a steady pace, low intensity cardio is key. Examples are walking on an incline treadmill at a 3mph speed, going on a fast-paced walk, bike or rollerblade.
Doing cardio is healthy so even if its not one of your favorite things to do, doing it once in a while would be beneficial for your overall health.