10 ways cardio might be beneficial

Image credit: Shutterstock - By lzf

There are so many things that can go wrong with the human mind and body—bad mood, weak memory, gaining weight, pain all over.

But what if we told you that there was one type of exercise that could solve all your problems, as long as you stay consistent and dedicated daily?

Well there is, and it’s known as cardio.

Cardio, or aerobic exercise, has been found to benefit both the body and brain in countless ways. Here are 10 ways this amazing exercise can be your miracle drug today:

1) Manages Your Blood Sugar

Diabetes is one of the worst problems facing the modern world today, and several studies have found that one of the best ways to counter it is with cardio.

Not only does cardio help you lose weight, but it also advances the way your body makes use of blood sugar.

In one Chinese study, it was found that just 20 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise a day could give you a 50% better chance of avoiding diabetes.

2) Improves Cholesterol

In a review of 13 different studies that examined the relationship of cardio and cholesterol, researchers found that cardio was directly associated with reducing LDL, the “bad” cholesterol build up in the body which lingers in the arteries and causes heart disease. Cardio was also found to increase HDL, the body’s “good” cholesterol.

3) It Helps Gut Microbes

Microbes in the gut help regulate the body’s overall health, and can give you early signs of upcoming illnesses.

Researchers found that individuals who exercised 3-5 times every week exhibited higher levels of butyrate, the fatty acid in the gut that keeps the stomach healthy.

4) Improves Heart Rate And Lung and Health Condition

Cardio exercises such as swimming allow you to work out every muscle in your body. This leads to your entire body learning how to better utilize oxygen in the system, which improves your breathing and heart rate.

One study found that the heart health metrics of those who participated in aerobic exercises versus those who didn’t were much stronger and healthier.

5) It Tones Your Body

Fitness scientists used to believe that resistance training was better for muscle toning than cardio, but this has since been proven otherwise.

A recent review of several studies regarding muscle toning found that men who performed cardio at least 4 times a week experienced a significant toning in their leg muscles.

6) Cardio Increases Brain Size

Researchers have found that senior citizens who participate in regular aerobic exercises showed a larger hippocampus than those who didn’t.

The hippocampus is the part of the brain that is most directly involved with learning and memory creation.

The exercises included walking, swimming, weight-lifting, and balance training, but only those who focused on cardio showed the best signs of hippocampal volume increase.

7) Protection Against Memory Loss During Chemo

The “chemo brain” is a regularly observed phenomenon, wherein those undergoing chemotherapy experience difficulties in remembering and creating new memories.

Researchers conducted a study in which they tested the possible effects of aerobic exercises such as swimming and jogging on “chemo brains”.

They found that those who performed aerobic exercises were much more likely to shake off the chemo brain than those who merely solved puzzles and quizzes.

8) Slows Down Brain Decline

As you get older, your brain naturally becomes slower, with connections between different parts of the brain working less efficiently and quickly than before.

Memory and understanding start to dim first, followed by other areas of the brain. There is one stage known as MCI, or mild cognitive impairment, in which the individual experiences problems with judgment, thinking, language, and memory.

However, researchers found that adults with MCI who regularly took walks several times per week began reconnecting certain parts of their brain, improving their neural capacity for the long-term.

9) Prevents Depression

Cardio does more than boost your physical health; it can also have a powerful impact on your mood.

In one study, researchers observed that people who had suffered long-term depression exhibited immediate signs of benefits after spending just half an hour every day walking on the treadmill for 10 days straight.

They concluded that the benefits of cardio had a “clinically relevant and statistically significant” impact on reducing depression.

10) Improves Your Skin

Cardio is so beneficial for your body that it goes beyond physical and mental benefits: it can also help out your skin, from its look to its feel.

Researchers from McMaster University observed in one study that middle-aged individuals who regularly engaged in cardio were likelier to have healthier skin than others. They found that their skin not only looked better, it also had fewer marks along the surface.

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Lachlan Brown

Written by Lachlan Brown

I’m Lachlan Brown, the founder, and editor of Hack Spirit. I love writing practical articles that help others live a mindful and better life. I have a graduate degree in Psychology and I’ve spent the last 6 years reading and studying all I can about human psychology and practical ways to hack our mindsets. If you want to get in touch with me, hit me up on Twitter or Facebook.

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