Adding 30 minutes of cardio to your daily routine could be a total game-changer. And, considering there are plenty of cardio moves you can do at home, you don’t even have to go to a gym to work up a sweat!
According to the Mayo Clinic, adults should do 30 minutes of “moderate physical activity” every day. Fortunately, there are a variety of ways to get your heart pumping, whether that means going outside for a jog, watching a kickboxing video on YouTube, or maybe even opting for calisthenics. To put it simply, if you’ve noticed unexpected signs that you’re out of shape, many cardio workouts are easy and free, and you can do them just about anywhere. Cardio exercises are beloved by celebrities. Cardio was a part of Khloé Kardashian’s post-baby weight loss plan, as well as a major player in Danielle Busby’s workout routine.
So, why is it so important to keep your body active? And, more importantly, what exactly happens to your body when you make the effort to get 30 minutes of cardio every day? Read on to discover the answers to those questions and more.
Getting 30 minutes of cardio every day can help you lose weight
Getting 30 minutes of cardio every day could be the key to losing those pesky extra pounds.
According to the CDC, nearly half of all Americans are trying to lose weight, with the majority of that number being women. If you happen to be part of that statistic, certified personal trainer Jamie Costello recommends adding 30 minutes of cardio to your daily routine. “You will lose weight because of an increase in daily caloric burn,” he told The List. Costello continued, explaining, “There is also a mild improvement in metabolism that can be boosted by incorporating vigorous levels of intensity like intervals during your cardio sessions.” Sounds like a win-win!
However, there’s a caveat to exercising for 30 minutes every day, according to certified nutritionist Katie Boyd. “Thirty minutes of cardio a day will aid in weight loss, but it is also important to have proper nutrition,” Boyd added. She continued, telling The List, “You can’t really outwork a bad diet.” In other words, downing a bagel and cream cheese before your workout could be a reason you’re not losing that belly fat.
Doing 30 minutes of cardio every day could improve your bone density
Surprisingly, doing 30 minutes of cardio every day could actually improve your bone density.
According to the Arthritis Foundation, women lose half of the spongy tissue inside their long bones throughout their lifetime, as well as 30 percent of the dense tissue that covers their bones (via Everyday Health). Fortunately, there are some cardio activities you can do to help support your bone health, says certified personal trainer Glenn Shope. “Doing 30 minutes of weight-bearing cardio (such as running, walking, or anything on your feet vs. swimming, cycling, or rowing) will increase your bone density, particularly in the hips and upper legs,” Shope explained to The List. He continued, saying, “This is caused by your body adapting to the load placed on it by the motion and gravity.”
As Shope notes, it’s incredibly important to make sure you’re being proactive about your bone health, as the consequences of ignoring it can be quite severe. “Hip and femur breaks in the elderly are commonly associated with falls and can be the most devastating fractures for a senior,” Shope told The List.
Doing 30 minutes of cardio every day can help you sleep better
Fitting 30 minutes of cardio into your daily routine could mean a better night’s sleep, according to experts.
If the stresses of daily life are keeping you from falling asleep and staying asleep at night, getting 30 minutes of cardio every day might help ease your mind so you’re not left staring at your bedroom ceiling for hours, just waiting for sleep to find you. According to certified personal trainer, Jamie Costello, there are multiple reasons why cardio just might be the key to staying well-rested. “The first is by reducing mental stress, so we can relax more easily and fall asleep,” Costello told The List. He continued, explaining, “The second is that physical fatigue is a natural stimulus for the body to need recovery.” Of course, physical fatigue promotes a feeling of overall tiredness, which will usually lead to sleep. Plus, as Costello notes, the endorphins that you produce during a workout can also promote relaxation.
“Studies support regular exercisers not only sleep more on average, but get a higher quality of deep sleep,” Costello added. That sounds a lot more effective than counting sheep, for sure.
If you do 30 minutes of cardio daily, you mood will likely improve
If you’re feeling blue, 30 minutes of cardio could turn your frown upside down!
Everyone is bound to feel apathetic sometimes, or even just plain sad — whether it’s due to external events or a personal emotional crisis. The good news is that doing 30 minutes of cardio daily can boost your mood, as noted by certified nutritionist Katie Boyd. “Exercise stimulates the chemicals in your brain that help you feel more at ease and happier overall,” Boyd shared with The List. She continued, explaining, “It also slows down the release of hormones that can cause fight or flight symptoms, which in turn can cause stress and put on a damper on your happy mood.”
But wait, there’s more! Your daily cardio regimen can even change the inner-workings of your brain and make it more conducive to happiness, according to Boyd. “Cardio releases endorphins and helps with the growth of new neural networks in the brain, as well as reduced inflammation … all contributing factors of feeling blissful,” the certified nutritionist revealed. Perhaps that explains why some people get a “runner’s high” when they go jogging!
Doing 30 minutes of cardio every day could keep anxiety at bay
If you’ve ever suffered from chronic anxiety, or been unlucky enough to have a panic attack, you know firsthand just how uncomfortable and even scary that experience can be. However, the next time you find yourself in the midst of an anxious moment, experts say you should consider jumping into a cardio workout. “You will feel less anxious because your body quickly enjoys a surge of mood-boosting endorphins, calming neurotransmitters such as serotonin and dopamine, and even endocannabinoids, the body’s natural version of marijuana’s THC,” personal trainer K. Aleisha Fetters told The List.
In addition to the flood of feel-good endorphins, exercise can help shift your focus away from the things stressing you out. “As you move your awareness and focus away from all of the things causing you anxiety and [focus on] your workout, your body’s stress response will lower,” Fetters explained. In other words, if you can’t shake a nagging, anxious feeling, perhaps your body is trying to tell you that you’re not exercising enough.
Doing 30 minutes of cardio every day can help improve your libido
Doing 30 minutes of cardio every day could possibly improve your relationship between the sheets.
Many experts agree that having an intimate relationship with your partner is an important component of romantic partnerships for several reasons, including the emotional bond it often promotes. However, if you and your significant other happen to find yourselves in the middle of a dry spell, doing 30 minutes of cardio every day can bring the magic back to your bedroom. In fact, sex and relationship expert Dr. Mike Anderson encourages daily cardio, telling The List, “Your sex life will improve because it will boost desire, arousal and satisfaction. He continued, explaining, “Regular cardio increases levels of testosterone — the primary hormone responsible for boosting sex drive in men and women.”
As it turns out, your daily stint on the elliptical can do more than chemically increase your libido. Anderson noted that it can lead to “better sexual function in men” and to women feeling more “sexually desirable as a result of enhanced self-image.”
If you want to improve your heart health, do 30 minutes of cardio every day
Getting 30 minutes of cardio each day plays an important part in keeping your heart healthy, according to experts.
As noted by the CDC, both heart disease and stroke are in the top five causes of death in the United States, with heart disease being the number one killer of women. Needless to say, protecting your ticker is of utmost importance — and a cardio regimen could make all the difference when it comes to having a healthy heart instead of a heart health problem. “When you perform cardiovascular exercise daily, studies have shown that you reduce your risk of heart disease related events by as much as 20 percent because you are strengthening your heart muscle,” noted certified personal trainer Lynell Ross. “With each beat, the heart pushes out more blood, allowing it to beat slower, keeping your blood pressure under control.”
As Ross told The List, daily cardio can protect you from stroke, too. “In addition, cardiovascular exercise helps reduce the fatty plaque that builds up in arteries, and causes heart attacks and strokes,” the personal trainer revealed.
Your focus will improve if you do 30 minutes of cardio every day
Doing 30 minutes of cardio every day should definitely be considered if you’re having trouble staying focused during long lectures at school, or while plowing through a mountain of paperwork at your job. For many people, these activities are a necessity — and being able to focus is the key to doing it all and doing it well. After all, without the ability to focus, you’re bound to fall behind at work and school, or perhaps even hurt the feelings of a friend who notices you zoning out while they’re in the middle of telling you about their bad date.
Fortunately, however, doing 30 minutes of cardio is a surefire way to boost your attention span, as noted by certified personal trainer Jamie Costello. “Your concentration will improve because the brain can function better through increasing key chemicals that are utilized for optimum brain function,” Costello told The List. He continued, explaining, “In addition, brain cell growth can be stimulated through regular exercise.”
The best part? Cardio is a type of exercise that will get you in and out of the gym in under 30 minutes.
Your immune system will thank you if you do 30 minutes of cardio every day
Thirty minutes of cardio a day keeps the doctor away! Okay, maybe that’s not exactly the old adage — but, according to experts, there’s definitely some truth to our version.
Having a healthy and strong immune system is incredibly important if you hope to enjoy a long life, and nurturing said immune system as much as possible is key in protecting your body from whatever cold or stomach flu is making rounds within your office. One way you can keep your immune system as healthy and functioning as possible is making sure to exercise 30 minutes every day, according to certified nutritionist Katie Boyd. “Experts say that physical activity may help flush bacteria out of the lungs and airways,” Boyd shared with The List. “This in turn may reduce your chance of getting a cold, flu, or other illnesses that attack the immune system.”
In addition to kicking any nasty invaders out of your body, a regular cardio regimen can foster other positive changes within your body. “Exercise also causes changes in the antibodies of the white blood cells which fight off illness and disease,” Boyd added.
Getting 30 minutes of cardio every day can lower your stress levels
Experts agree that doing 30 minutes of cardio every day can calm your nerves when you’re feeling anxious; however, it can’t exactly get rid of the external factors that contribute to you feeling completely stressed out. External stressors will always be an issue — which is unfortunate, especially considering that a 2019 Gallup poll showed Americans are among the most stressed out people across the globe (via The New York Times).
Still, while there will always be little things (and some big things) to be stressed about, exercise can help you cope and deal with stress in a healthy way. According to experts, doing a half-hour of cardio every day can make even the busiest workday or chaotic family function a little less stressful.
Certified personal trainer Hannah Daugherty told The List, “Physical activity boosts the levels of norepinephrine in the body, otherwise known as the ‘feel good hormone.'” She continued, explaining, “With increased levels of this hormone in your body, your stress levels are lowered, and you’re more able to deal with situations that come along that might stress you out.”
Doing 30 minutes of cardio every day will give you an energy boost
Doing 30 minutes of cardio every day may seem like an activity that will leave you feeling totally wiped out and lethargic. However, as funny of an idea as it may seem, working up a sweat on the treadmill will likely make you feel more energized. Weird, right?
Certified personal trainer Garner Pilat told The List, “Your energy will increase because over time, your body will build stamina.” She continued, explaining, “As your heart and body [get] stronger from 30 minutes of cardio a day, your body’s perceived exertion will go down, so harder tasks will feel easier for you.”
According to experts, there are even more energy-boosting benefits to doing cardio — a type of exercise fit people do every day. As Dr. Barbara A. Bushman, a professor of kinesiology at Missouri State University, told The List, “As a result of a higher fitness level overall, routine activities can be completed at a lower percentage of your maximal capacity.” She continued, “This fitness foundation promotes well-being in many areas of life, including recreational and vocational.”
You'll get stronger and build endurance if you do 30 minutes of cardio every day
Doing 30 minutes of cardio every day is a good idea for a whole host of reasons, including cardio’s ability to promote stress management, release feel-good hormones, and help you get a good night’s sleep. However, while doing 30 minutes of cardio every day will definitely help improve your mental strength and endurance, the exercise will undoubtedly improve your physical strength and endurance levels, as well.
Physical therapist and athlete Eric Owens explained to The List, “Cardiovascular training and exercise also has a profound effect on fascia, the connective tissue inside muscle.” He continued, saying, “The improved pliability of the fascia enhances muscular strength, endurance, and overall muscular function.” According to Owens, healthy muscular function is especially important as we get older because our muscles naturally lose pliability as we age.
Owens also explained to The List that a regular cardio regimen can work to improve your body’s general muscle health, making you a healthier person overall.
Doing 30 minutes of cardio every day could lengthen your life
Fitting 30 minutes of cardio in your schedule every day may feel like a bit of an annoying, time-consuming activity. However, moving your body and getting your heart rate up for a half-hour each day could give you even more time in the long run.
“Exercising regularly can help deter or at least manage any chronic conditions you may be experiencing such as diabetes, arthritis, or high blood pressure,” certified nutritionist Katie Boyd told The List. Boyd continued, explaining, “It also improves your quality of life, especially when you are nearing your senior years.” We’re beginning to sense a theme here.
There’s another good reason to believe that hitting the treadmill for half an hour daily could increase your longevity, according to Boyd. “It will help you with your physical stamina, strength, and in my opinion is one of the keys to leading and maintaining an independent lifestyle forever,” the certified nutritionist revealed. Added Boyd, “Remember, it is never too late to start an exercise regimen.”
You might get sore if you do 30 minutes of cardio every day … but that doesn't mean you should stop
Doing 30 minutes of cardio every day may leave your body feeling a little sore, according to Healthline. Of course, this is especially true if you’re just starting out on your cardio journey. However, you shouldn’t let a few sore muscles deter you from working up a sweat every day.
The more cardio you do, the more your body will adjust to its new, healthier normal. However, if you find yourself getting sore even after you’ve made cardio a regular part of your daily routine, certified personal trainer Jamie Costello says you may be doing something incorrectly — or perhaps you’re doing too much cardio. “You may feel sore because of overtraining your musculoskeletal system or improper form while training,” Costello explained to The List. He continued, saying, “Unlike strength training, cardio exercise should not induce a significant level of soreness.”
Ignoring soreness can lead to some pretty negative outcomes, too. “Too much too soon, and/or incorrect form can especially lead to ankle, knee, hip, or low back pain,” Costello revealed, recommending that beginners avoid high-impact activity until their bodies have adjusted to a regular cardio routine.
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