3 Major Reasons to Incorporate Cardio into Your Fitness Routine

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These days, it seems like cardio has taken a backseat in the fitness world. The current fitness trends emphasize strength and flexibility, with workouts such as Crossfit and yoga becoming increasingly popular. In fact, many fitness gurus have stated that cardio isn’t all that important and that you can get the same effects that you would from cardio by just lowering your daily caloric intake.

While these fitness gurus might have good intentions, the truth is that cardio is just as important as it ever was to maintaining a healthy, attractive figure. Here are three major reasons why cardio should always be a part of your fitness routine, no matter what the current fitness fads might happen to be.

1. Cardio Burns Calories

Opponents of cardio often argue that most cardio workouts don’t burn a significant enough amount of calories to make the activity worthwhile. After all, a 30 minute walk will only burn roughly 100 calories for most people. For this reason, many people say that people should reduce their overall caloric intake through diet, not through cardio.

It’s true that you can’t “exercise your way thin.” If you’re eating a large amount of calories every day, it’s physically impossible to work off those calories in the gym, unless you’re an Olympic athlete who trains 12 hours a day. However, cardio still burns calories. The best way to lose weight is by doing cardio in conjunction with a reduced calorie diet. Just because an activity “only” burns a few hundred calories doesn’t mean that it won’t help your overall weight loss goals.

Don’t deduct your exercise calories from your consumed calories, however. When you’re determining how many calories you should consume for the day, you should only allow yourself extra calories if you know that you’re going to be partaking in a sport that’s absolutely grueling, such as marathon running. For basic cardio workouts at the gym, don’t allow yourself extra calories, especially not if you’re trying to lose weight.

2. Cardio Increases Your Metabolism

There’s a reason that you don’t see a lot of obese marathon runners. Sure, cardio might burn fewer calories than people realize. However, consistent cardiovascular exercise can help to increase the speed of your metabolism.

While cardio won’t permanently change your metabolism, it can significantly increase it for up to 24 hours after your workout, depending on how intensely you exercised. This means that if you do cardio workouts consistently, you will always have a metabolism that’s running at an optimal speed.

However, remember not to gorge yourself just because you did a grueling workout. The top reason why people don’t achieve their weight loss goals is because they’re overestimating how many calories they’re burning off via physical fitness and overeating as a result.

3. You’ll Have A Healthy Heart

Too often, fitness industry trends are centered around the desire of people to improve their appearances, rather than the goal of improving overall health. Even if you’ve begun your gym regimen out of a desire to become skinny, that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t also be cognizant of the overall improvement to your health that a workout regimen provides.

There is no better way to improve your cardiovascular health than by cardiovascular exercise. They’re both designated as “cardiovascular” for a reason. While strength training has its health benefits, consistent cardio is the only way to reduce your risk of heart disease.

“Cardiovascular health will also help you in other areas of fitness” says Pure Barre. “Whether you’re a yogi or a bodybuilder, an improved resting heart rate and recovery time will help your performance significantly.”

Never underestimate the importance of endurance when it comes to getting the body that you want. Indeed, it’s difficult to make a lot of noticeable changes if you’re still huffing and puffing through your workouts. This is why improving your endurance should always be a part of your fitness goals.

Just because some fitness gurus might say that cardio isn’t that essential to meeting your goals doesn’t mean that you should eliminate cardio from your routine. Even if it’s as simple as taking a 30 minute walk, cardio is essential for your overall health and well-being. Keep these reasons in why the next time you consider removing cardio from your fitness routine.

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