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Many people believe that in order to lose weight they must do cardio, although this is true, cardio has many other positive impacts. These impacts may be short term but are also long term and effect the whole body, from the respiratory system to the brain. There are many apparent benefits to cardio but there are also some effects that are not seen to the human eye.
Short Term Effects
The most obvious short term effect of cardio is an increase in heart rate and sweating. Heart rate increases during cardio and increases blood flow to the surface of the skin and redirects blood to the skeletal muscles. Another short term effect of cardio is that it allows the lymphatic system to detoxify. In an article I found, it states that the lymph, which is a clear fluid that flows throughout your body, essentially collect “debris” from the body. This debris is fat, bacteria, or other material that are unwanted in the body. During cardio, the body moves around and allows for blood and lymph to circulate. In doing so, the lymph nodes and liver can cleanse the body faster. In an article I read, it states that during and after exercise, endorphins are released from the body. Endorphins are the “feel good” neurotransmitter and naturally decrease feelings of pain. Although short term effects are still beneficial, the long term effects or cardio and aerobic exercise are more significant.
Long Term Effects
One of the long term effects is that cardio can improve heart health. There was a study preformed by Duke University, that tested the effect of exercise on cardiovascular health as well as behavioral effects in older men and women. The study used 101 participants (50 men, 51 women), they were all tested for various cardiovascular related confounding factors. Each participant underwent numerous physical and psychological tests prior to engaging in the study. The results of the four month study were significant, both men and women that performed 60 minutes of aerobic exercise 3 times a week had an increase in aerobic capacity. The results of this element of the study reject the null hypothesis and show success in aerobic activity which can be seen in the overall lowered resting heart rate. As a whole, the participants that engaged in 60 minutes of aerobic exercise three times a week experienced an improvement in their aerobic capacity, increase in metabolic rate, lowered cholesterol, and an increase in anaerobic threshold. Anaerobic threshold means the rate that lactic acid accumulates in the bloodstream. A final note as stated in the study is, “these results represent changes in physical and psychological functioning after only four months of treatment. It is possible that a longer exercise program may be needed for significant psychological changes to occur.”
Another long term effect is the effect that cardio has on psychological aspects of an individual. Exercise and cardio has been thought to improve depression and anxiety and is shown in a the previous study, the study had results that showed a significant decrease in depressive symptoms, whereas the control group did not. In the same study, it showed that anxiety levels also were decreased. Another study, conducted by , , , the effects of exercise on depression. The study did a randomized control experiment compared exercise to standard treatment, no treatment or placebo treatment. The results of the study were that exercise was found to improve symptoms of depression in participants in comparison to no treatment or the control. Although this evidence was from a single study, there are more studies that can comply with the correlation between lowered depressive symptoms and exercise.
Both studies that were performed tried to eliminate any options of confounding variables and also use sample sizes that could provide significant results, although
All evidence shows that only good things come from doing healthy amounts of cardio. These good things are, enhanced mood, improved cardiovascular health, weight loss, overall physical improvement, stress relief, amongst various other things.
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