We all want that gorgeous, well-toned summer body. But no matter how hard we try to work out in the gym, we still get frustrated at the difficulty of losing weight or gaining muscle mass. Men have this impression that they would lose weight if they do cardio or are often embarrassed to do cardio since they look at it as “not manly.” But the truth is that cardio is vital for building muscle and toning your body.
What Is Cardio?
Cardio is short for cardiorespiratory, meaning anything that involves the heart and lungs working together to provide oxygenated blood to the muscles. Cardio covers a range of different activities, but what they all have in common is that they’ll raise your heartbeat.
The American Heart Association research shows that genetics have a 20% to 40% influence over what you can do cardio-wise. This doesn’t mean that your genes will improve your cardiovascular health. Many factors can influence how your body responds to exercise. Whether you’re an endomorph (i.e., a person with a higher percentage of body fat than muscle mass) or a hard gainer, cardio is still beneficial for you.
What Are the Benefits of Cardio Workout?
Cardiovascular workouts strengthen the heart and lungs by increasing their capacity and reducing hypertension. The more fit you are, the more calories you burn even when you’re not working out, thanks to an increased resting metabolic rate.
Cardio workouts help lower blood pressure, improve cholesterol levels and control diabetes better if done regularly. In addition, cardio workouts protect the heart from developing disorders such as coronary heart diseases and other chronic conditions. Cardio exercise can also reduce stress and release endorphins to improve mood.
Cardio is good for burning fats since it provides a full-body workout. Along with resistance training, Cardio exercise enhances the process of lipolysis (i.e., the breakdown of fat cells into energy).
How to Choose Your Cardio Workout?
Popular Types of Cardio Exercises
- Running: A simple cardio exercise for both beginners and experts.
- HIIT (High-Intensity Interval Training): These workouts include sprints, hitting boxing bags, swinging the kettlebell or even light car pushes. What’s important about this workout is that it is done in a short burst. You will need to have a proper meal for excellent results.
- Cycling: It is considered a low-intensity training that burns less fat than running. You can cycle in the gym on a stationary bike or outdoors for 30 minutes.
- Swimming: This activity engages your heart and lungs, making it a perfect cardiovascular exercise. Swimming works out your entire body while toning it for an added benefit. A swimming workout can include freestyle, backstroke and sidestroke.
- Jump Ropes: It’s a fast and effective workout that provides both warm-up and a serious workout. Jump rope helps improve your coordination and metabolism while making you sweat like crazy.
A Parting Reminder
Don’t skip cardio just because it sounds less “manly.” Regardless of your body type, you can always choose a cardio workout that suits you best. Begin small and work your way up while also listening to your body; it will tell you if you’re doing too much and need to reduce the intensity or the duration.
Along with a proper diet with your exercise regime, you will be closer to the health and body you want to achieve with a little cardio added in.