Cardio isn’t something we all enjoy. In fact, even though exercise is a major stress reducer, the irony is that it causes stress for a lot of people! That’s why many of us avoid it altogether. But in reality, we miss out on a whole spectrum of physical and mental health benefits.
Why Cardio is Important
Being intimidated by exercise is one thing. But neglecting it as a component of your health is another. While all exercise is beneficial in its own right, cardio has bragging rights to an entire host of unique health benefits including: Improved cardiovascular health; lowered blood pressure; regulated blood sugar; reduced chronic pain; weight regulation; improved mood and cognitive function; reduced risk for injury and the fact that it’s generally affordable and accessible.
And while you may think that cardio is just a bunch of huffing and puffing, you’d be wrong! This form of exercise is superb at burning calories, releasing endorphins and building confidence.
Overcome Your Fear
Whether you’re legitimately afraid of cardio or it’s just an irritating reminder about exercise, there are many ways you can establish it as a welcome part of your lifestyle. Check-out these tips:
Know Your Time Zone:
If you’re not a morning person, don’t force yourself to go for a run at 6 a.m. If your schedule piles up in the evenings, plan your cardio workouts for earlier in the day. Fit cardio exercise into your lifestyle so that it works on your terms. Not the other way around!
Find What You Enjoy
Not everyone does well on a treadmill or elliptical machine. What sparks your interest? Maybe it’s hiking, biking or swimming. Perhaps it’s aerobic dancing. If you pick exercises that you truly enjoy doing, your workouts will become a lot more interesting and easier to bear.
Grab a Friend
Solo workouts aren’t the only way to go. If you’re dreading a workout, stay motivated by asking a friend, family or co-worker to do it with you. You can even schedule group exercises ahead of time to give you something to look forward to throughout the week.
Replace Negative Thoughts
If you find yourself hung-up on the dread of working out, nix those negative thoughts by speaking positive ones out loud. For instance, instead of saying “I don’t want to go jogging after work,” say “If I go jogging later, I can get a great workout and relieve some stress.”
Give yourself something to look forward to. If you meet your cardio goals for the week, schedule time to do a fun activity or treat yourself to something you really want. It doesn’t have to be a big reward. It just has to give you some extra workout motivation.
Mindset is Everything
Change your attitude, change your life! You might be surprised at how a simple mindset shift can alter your perception and your fitness journey. You shouldn’t have to fear exercise. It’s a very rewarding component of weight management if you think about it that way!