What does cardio mean to you? Sweating away on a treadmill?
Slogging it out on a stationary bike? 101 burpees till you want to throw up?
Maybe it’s none of these, maybe you swim, chase the children in a game of tag
or run after that 10-second-too-early bus every morning. Maybe you love getting
your heart pumping and feeling that amazing rush of blood to your muscles and
your lungs being pushed to improve their job. Whatever your view of it is,
there is no denying that getting your heart rate up (as long as there is no
medical reason for you not too) is hugely beneficial to your body and over
time, your quality of life.
Setting aside any appearance benefits for the
moment, getting a bit breathless increases blood flow to your muscles,
strengthens the heart and lungs, and teaches the heart to work more
efficiently. It can also reduce stress, alleviate a temporary low mood and
anxiety, reduce the risk of heart disease and actually give you more energy for
the rest of your day. In fact, simply going outside for 5 minutes first thing in the morning and getting
yourself moving, will kick start your natural circadian rhythms, helping you
sleep better at the end of the day – win win!
Not sure what to do for 5 minutes? Try these for 1 minute each – heel flicks (jogging on the spot, heels kicking your bottom), mountain climbers (stationary sprinting in a push up position), star jumps, high knees (bringing your knees up to your chest while jogging on the spot) and jump squats (squatting down and jumping up). There we go, job done, now all you have to do is enjoy those benefits!