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It’s no secret that exercise is good for you; this is something we all know, but a large portion of us, don’t do it.  Life is busy, time moves quickly, and with everything going on in life, how can one find the time to fit any fitness into a routine?  Try substituting one bad habit (we all have at least one), with a little bit of heart-healthy cardiovascular activity. Working out and fitness, in general, is a very important component in maintaining overall health.  Cardio is any movement that increases heart rate and gets the blood pumping.  One of the most convenient benefits of cardio is there’s no gym required; thus providing the ability to get a workout even with a busy schedule.

Improves Heart Health

The heart is the most important muscle in the human body; so keeping it healthy should be a priority.  Participating in activities such as running or jogging, swimming, or hiking will increase your heart rate and over time, help to strengthen that muscle.  The more activities that you partake in the greater your endurance will be, resulting in improved heart and lung function. The American Heart Association recommends at least 30 minutes of cardiovascular or aerobic activity 3-5 days a week to improve and maintain overall heart health.

Improves Mood, Limits Stress

It’ important to have a healthy balance between different life events, like working and your personal home life.  Finding this balance can often prove to be difficult, as many of the common life stressors we face are hard to avoid.  Not only does cardiovascular exercise improve physical health, but it is also has positive effects on emotional health and the reduction of stress. According to an article from Harvard Health Publishing at Harvard Medical School, “Exercise reduces levels of the body’s stress hormones, such as adrenaline and cortisol. It also stimulates the production of endorphins, chemicals in the brain that are the body’s natural painkillers and mood elevators.”

Contributes to Weight Loss, Increases Metabolism

In addition to improving heart rate, cardio also gets your metabolism working.  Increasing your metabolism with cardio and other workouts can directly contribute to weight loss.  The more active your metabolism is, the more it will assist your body in getting rid of unwanted weight gain.  Improving your metabolism also contributes to maintaining a healthy weight after any weight loss goals have been obtained.  Try some activities like a brisk walk every day, swimming, or light weight HIIT (High-Intensity Interval Training) exercises to help tone your body as you lose weight.