I can’t tell you how many times I am confronted with the an individual that either balks at the idea of adding ‘cardio’ into their life or does it but quite obviously hates every minute of it. I then, with empathy in my heart, take some time to define cardio and then explain its importance in a healthy lifestyle.
First, the definition. Cardio is a short form for what we call a ‘cardiovascular workout’, meaning something that raises your heart rate above a resting level and in essence, exercises your heart and the muscles associated with it. It doesn’t have to be a jog, it doesn’t have to be on an elliptical, it just has to get your heart pumping. It could be dancing, walking, hiking or any other activities you enjoy…it just needs to be done. You can make it social by joining a team or a walking club. It really doesn’t matter what you do, just how you do it. Any exercise can be challenging if you make it that way. I also remind clients that it is important to be flexible. You don’t have to do the same thing all the time–it’s boring and will lead to weight loss plateaus as well. Dont’ want to go to a gym? Feel free to turn on the radio and dance around the house like a fool!
Second, I remind them of the importance. Here’s why cardio is so important:
- It’s one way to burn calories and help you lose weight
- It makes your heart strong so that it doesn’t have to work as hard to pump blood
- It increases your lung capacity
- It helps reduce risk of heart attack, high cholesterol, high blood pressure and diabetes
- It makes you feel good
- It helps you sleep better
- It helps improve insulin resistance
- It helps reduce stress
- I could go on all day, but you get the point
There are so many reasons why cardio is important to do. If you are not a cardio lover then see if you can find an activity that you like and incorporate it into your life If you don’t like any then take a look through the list of benefits and see where you are most at risk and/or would see the most benefit from incorporating cardio into your life. Then, every time you start to procrastinate, remember why it is important to do and commit to just showing up to do it. While you are doing it, learn to love what it is doing for you.
You may not love the actions, but you can learn to love the results.
Do any of you love the hard side of parenting? Do you thrive on time outs? Do you get a thrill every time you count to 3? Do you get a kick out of making sure your kids eat their vegetables and brush their teeth? Probably not, but what I can guarantee is that what all of you are banking on is the results of these actions. You know you have to do it or you will end up with cavity riddled hellions and that would not be fun. The results are worth the short term pains. Try thinking about it this way when you fight with yourself about doing what you know is good for you. There are a lot of exercises I don’t love, but I have learned to love the results and it is those and those alone that keep me coming back.
In summary: Find something you like, do it often, learn to love the results.
Keep those heats pumping!
Christine is a yoga instructor, personal trainer and nutritionist who specializes in weight loss and womens health at Four Forty Fitness for Women in Burlington, Ontario. Check out the website at www.fourfortyfitness.ca