Many people in the world today tip toe around this word. Some people want to ignore its existence entirely, while some people completely embrace it. People who embrace it swear by it, while people who distance themselves from it miss out.
But I’m not afraid to say the “C” word.
Cardio, which is short for cardiovascular exercise, is also often referred to as aerobic exercise. Cardio can really be anything that is from light to moderate intensity exercise. Some common examples of cardio would be medium to long distance running/jogging, swimming, cycling, and walking. Aerobic exercise differs from its counterpart, anaerobic exercise, based on the intensity of the work out. For example, running may be considered to be an aerobic exercise, while sprinting would be considered to be an anaerobic exercise.
I could sit around and list out all of the benefits of doing cardio, but I think most people already understand the majority of the benefits. Overall, people know that doing cardio makes a person much more healthy. Some of the lesser known benefits of doing cardio are improved mental health, stress reduction, and improved cognitive capacity. That’s right; doing cardio can actually make you smarter. Another lesser known fact is that high-impact aerobic activities can actually stimulate bone growth. Furthermore, people who take part in regular intense cardio exercises were found by the National Sleep Foundation to fall asleep 54% faster, which I think we could all agree is all too tempting to pass up (Source.) Overall, cardio is kickass. But enough talking about the benefits- let’s talk about how to actually get your cardio going.
A great way that I find to actually get myself to do cardio is either to play a sport with friends or to constantly be running late for things. Although I usually get more cardio in from the latter, the former is much more rewarding. When most people think of cardio, they think of people who get up at 5am and run six miles for God knows what reason. I mean, I have nothing against people who do that, I’ve just never been able to understand how someone could motivate themselves to do so and how they could not become bored. A lot of the most basic aerobic exercises are thought to be those high intensity, high motivation activities, yet it’s not necessary to get your cardio in that way.
Instead of thinking that you have to participate in highly motivated activities in order to get your cardio in, simply find something that you love to do outdoors. I know that I personally hate doing cardio, but I love playing sports with my friends. You’re not motivated to keep working because you want the work out; you’re motivated by the fact that you’re having fun. I suck at tennis, yet it’s one of my favorite things to do with my friends. It gets us running around without realizing it. Of course, we have modified the rules in order to make up for our complete lack of skill, but the point of being out there isn’t to be good at what we’re doing. Rather, it is to just be doing it together and having fun- with cardio as an added bonus.