10 Amazing Health Benefits of Cardio Exercise

From weight loss to improved sleep quality, the health benefits of cardio are abundant. Sure, a tough workout on the treadmill or row machine may involve heavy breathing and sweat-drenched clothing. But that’s a minor price to pay for the vast number of mental and physical health benefits of cardio exercise.

The Health Benefits of Cardio

Explore the infographic below to learn more about the health benefits of cardio!

Cardio Exercise Options for Beginners

So, now that you know the health benefits of cardio, you probably want to know where to start! While there are many options to choose from, it’s a good idea to get your bearings with a tried and true cardio exercise. To help you decide, here are four proven cardio exercise options and some of their primary benefits:

    • Cycling: Whether on the road or through mountain trails, cycling is an outdoor adventure packed with health benefits! One study found that people who cycled at least 20-minutes per day saw significant improvements to their cardiovascular fitness and an overall reduction in body fat. [1]
    • Swimming: In the US, swimming is the fourth most popular sports activity. Furthermore, it’s an excellent low-impact cardio workout for people recovering from injury. Studies show that swimming may help lower blood pressure. As a result, long-time swimmers also have a lower mortality rate than sedentary people, runners and walkers. [2] [3]
    • Hiking: If you want to enjoy the great outdoors while also improving your cardio, hiking may be for you! Hiking can help decrease cholesterol levels and increase high-density lipoprotein (HDL). What’s more, regular hikes through nature can help alleviate anxiety and stress. [4] [5]
    • Running: There’s a good reason running is one of the most popular cardio workouts! In general, runners have a lower risk of premature mortality and cardiovascular disease (CVD) and live approximately three years longer than non-runners. It’s also a powerful stress and anxiety reliever. [6] [7]


[1] www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21708185
[2] www.census.gov/library/publications
[3] www.scholarworks.bgsu.edu/ijare
[4] www.americantrails.org/files
[5] www.health.harvard.edu/blog
[6] www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28365296
[7] www.mayoclinicproceedings.org/article
[8] www.utswmed.org/medblog
[9] www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/PMC3879796
[10] www.cdc.gov/healthyweight
[11] www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/PMC3925973
[12] www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/PMC3906547
[13] www.cdc.gov/cholesterol
[14] www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/PMC6172294
[15] www.diabetes.org/food-and-fitness
[16] www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/PMC5934999
[17] www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18580415
[18] www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/PMC4836566
[19] www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/PMC4818249
[20] www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22019457

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