Cardio gets a bad rap from the ‘gym bro’ community. Maybe you’ve bought into the arguments about how cardio is ‘boring’, ‘bad for weight loss’, and ‘kills your gains’.
It’s time to not only bust those myths but share some of the secret benefits that cardio-haters clearly haven’t experienced.
We’ll ignore the commonly-known advantages, such as how it gives you more energy, extra stamina, a stronger heart, and stronger bones.
Instead, we’ll dive deeper into seven life-changing hidden benefits that you may not have been aware of.
On your marks, get set…
#1 Cardio makes you more productive
If you’re an aspiring business owner, freelancer, or commission-based employee, productivity is your proverbial money-maker.
The stronger your hustle, the healthier your bank account. Yet, if you find yourself mentally fatigued throughout the workday, you’re literally throwing dollars down the drain.
A daily cardio session could be the solution.
Successful people know this. That’s why so many of them wake before the crack of dawn to squeeze this into their day.
Here’s how a morning run will prepare you for maximum hustle from the first minute of your workday.
- It increases blood flow to the brain, waking you up and maximizing your creative force.
- It sends beta waves to the brain, increasing cognitive function and concentration.
- It releases feel-good endorphins, helping you feel ready to attack the day. Happy workers are hard workers 😉
As an added bonus, morning workouts help you burn calories throughout the day, aiding weight loss. Research suggests you can expect to lose an extra 190 calories within the next 14 hours.
#2 Cardio makes you smarter
Of course, you won’t be blessed with extra knowledge through cardio (although there’s nothing stopping you from taking in audiobooks at double speed during your morning run).
Nevertheless, studies suggest that regular stints of aerobic exercise make you better at retaining information. No more facts going in one ear and out the other.
Your cortisol levels will spike during cardio, which although not ideal for your overall health, has also been shown to improve memory.
#3 Cardio makes you happier
Couch potatoes might not understand the concept of the ‘runner’s high’, but it’s a real sensation backed by science. When we engage in physical exercise, a lot of changes occur to our body in order to adapt. These changes include the release of endorphins into the muscles. This is the body’s way of self-medicating and was credited as the process behind the ‘runner’s high’ for decades.
However, newer studies have cited the process of endocannabinoids sparking activity in the prefrontal and limbic regions of the brain (the same parts that light up when we’re having sex or eating chocolate).
Whatever chemical is responsible for the ‘runner’s high’, researchers agree that pushing yourself physically is key, although not too hard.
It’s about finding the balance between difficulty and pain. Once you do that, you’ll experience a sense of euphoria that inspires you to keep pushing yourself. Best of all, it’ll last for hours after your exercise is finished. This sweet spot is also a key factor for engaging in ‘flow’, the blissful state that helps people engage in their hobbies for hours without rest.
#4 Cardio makes you better-looking
You might not feel handsome after sprint training on a hot summer’s day, but there’s plenty of evidence suggesting it’ll make you better-looking in the long run. Let’s start by mentioning the excess fat you’ll lose around your face and neck. A great way to gain that defined jawline that drives women crazy.
What’s more, there’s plenty of scientific evidence linking cardio with clearer skin – a universally accepted sign of physical attractiveness.
#5 Cardio makes you a better lover
Surely, we’ve got your attention now. Cardio improves the efficiency of your blood vessels, creating stronger erections for improved performance in the bedroom. You’ll be a marathon man on the streets and between the sheets. But it goes deeper than that…
If that’s not enough, it’s also been suggested that couples who run together have a more active sex life.
#6 Cardio saves you money
With weight-lifting and most resistance exercises, you’ll either need to create a home gym or splash out on monthly membership fees.
With cardio, the world is your gym. All it takes is some running shoes or a half-decent bicycle. If you live within cycling distance of your office, consider riding to work. Combining cardio with your commute could save you thousands on gas or public transport costs.
Those who live in a snowy mountain town may prefer to squeeze a treadmill or rowing machine into their home. It’ll pay for itself within a few months of canceling your gym membership.
#7 Cardio helps you live longer
There are plenty of explanations for the link between cardio and increased life expectancy. Improved cardiovascular health. Better cholesterol levels. Decreased risk of diabetes, obesity, and many cancers. Whatever way you look at it, you’ve got a great chance of a long and healthy life once you develop a cardio habit.
This study tracked 1,000 people aged 50 or over and found 85% of those who regularly jogged were still alive after 21 years. Only 66% of non-runners lasted that long.
And that’s not all…
There are studies that prove that cardio improves your sleep quality, focus, and brain health well into old age. What’s more, there’s surely a type of cardio available for everyone to enjoy.
If you’re worried about your gains, investigate rowing, calisthenics, or incline sprints.
If you are concerned about boredom, get into team sports.
If you’re old and frail, a 20-minute walk can still work wonders for your physical and mental health.
Unless you have no interest in becoming a happier, better-looking, smarter version of yourself, you need to add cardio to your workout routine.