What Does Cardio do For Your Body? The Beginner’s ABC to Cardio

What does cardio do for your body?

If you’re scratching your head right now, you’ve come to the right place.

If you couldn’t care less, you’ve also come to the right place.

We all know the importance of fitness as part of a healthy lifestyle. Still, the way we go about doing our exercise is crucial:

It is essential to understand the core ideas behind exercise for us to exercise effectively!

Whether you’re an athlete or a couch potato, you use cardio every day. So if you want to up your fitness game or get to know the theory behind exercise, you must actually understand what cardiovascular exercise is all about.

Read on, and I’ll tell you all about it…

What Does Cardio do For Your Body – The Super-Short Version

Your muscles require oxygen for movement, whatever level of strain they are experiencing. From walking down the street to pumping iron, your heart enables the glorious miracle that is movement.

Cardiovascular fitness, cardio, or aerobic exercise describes your heart, lungs, and blood’s ability to supply your muscles with this oxygen. It also includes the ability of your muscles to utilize this oxygen.

Many factors influence the ability of this process, including:

  • stroke volume: the amount of blood pumped by your heart each beat
  • heart rate: the number of beats per minute
  • cardiac output: quantity of blood pumped per minute
  • oxygen consumption: the amount of oxygen used by body per minute

Cardio involves elevating your heart rate for an extended period. Classic cardio workouts include swimming, running, jogging, or any other steady-state low-intensity exercise.

Why Should You Care About Cardio?

Let’s face it, our bodies were made to move!

And sitting hunched over a computer all day leaves you feeling worn down. In contrast, a solid workout will leave your body feeling energized, refreshed, and ALIVE.

“Physical activity is an important way to prevent heart disease – the nation’s No. 1 killer — and stroke, the nation’s No. 5 killer.”

Reference: clevelandclinic.org 21 Fast Facts About Exercise and Your Heart Health

Here are just some of the benefits of cardiovascular exercise:

  • Weight loss
  • Reducing belly fat
  • Reducing anxiety & depression
  • Reducing the risk of heart disease
  • Improved sleep
  • Reduced blood pressure
  • Improved energy and concentration levels

It’s unfortunate that many see cardio only as a way to lose weight. Yet, you can see looking at this list that weight loss is just the tip of the iceberg.

There are a host of benefits to cardio exercise, all of which will improve your health and quality of life.

What Happens When You Do Cardio Everyday?

While doing cardio workouts regularly will bring several health benefits – doing it EVERY DAY can actually have a negative impact on your health… I recommend a maximum of five cardio days a week, especially if you are looking for long-term results. Your body needs to rest, and if you do not provide it with sufficient rest, the results may among others be:

  • Increased production of stress hormones
  • A decrease in muscle mass
  • Fat gain
  • Slower metabolism
  • An increased appetite
  • Increased blood pressure
  • and of course – you will be more prone to injuries

Instead of doing your traditional cardio every day, try to be creative and add some variety to your regimen:

  • Do a stroll through your neighborhood
  • or simply take a day off?
  • Increase the intensity of your strength training program. Instead of resting for two minutes, do 10-20 seconds rest between sets instead.
  • Have you ever tried Guerilla Cardio? You should… 12 minutes of high intensity. The perfect variation to that 60-minute cardio workout!
  • Or just visit YouTube and try out one of the many high-intensity interval training (HIIT) sessions available.

What Does Cardio Do To Muscles?

If you only do cardio workouts and do not give your muscles any kind of stimuli – you will slowly experience muscle loss… But hey, if you do not do any kind of strength training your muscles will weaken with time either you do cardio or not! Don’t replace your regular exercise for cardio, but rather combine them.

Eat properly, and do some strength training – If you do both you can do lots of cardio without losing muscle mass. If done properly, you can even lose body fat AND build muscle at the same time! It’s all about balancing your exercise and nutrition intake.

If you need help establishing an effective workout and diet for cardio program – FYT Personal Training is offering 50% off when using the code FYT50. Why don’t you go check it out?


Does Cardio Burn Belly Fat?

Sorry. You cannot choose from which parts of the body your cardio session will shred the fat from. For some people, the belly fat is among the first fat reserves being melted – while for others it might be the fat located on your tighs.

No human body acts the same. My best tips if you want to lose your belly fat, is to keep going and stick to your routine until you see results. And by the way – DONT FORGET WATCHING YOUR DIET. Working out alone will not do wonders, you will have to combine it with a healthy diet to see health wins!

Are 30 Minutes of Cardio Enough?

30 minutes of cardio can absolutely be more than enough – as long as you do it right.

If you stroll along on a treadmill, averaging a heart rate of 105 bpm – 30 minutes will NOT do wonders. On the other hand, if you exercise at a moderate intensity (60-75 percent of your maximum heart rate), 30 minutes might be just about perfect.


If you go gung-ho and do your cardiovascular exercise at high intensity – guerilla cardio style, or HIIT style, you can have an amazing cardio workout in as little as 12 minutes!

How about that?

Make Cardio a Part of Your Life

If you see exercise as a chore, it will be. Yet it doesn’t HAVE TO BE.

Exercise can be a part of your life that you enjoy and even look forward to as part of your daily routine. Having a daily (or regular) routine will give you self-discipline and satisfaction – and can even be a real confidence booster when times are tough!

Making cardio a part of your daily routine will amp your health, and enrich your life in more ways than you can ever imagine.

How to Get Started With Cardio

Start easy.

Set realistic goals for yourself. Aim for 20 minutes per day, 3 times a week as a starting point for your cardio workouts – this is the minimum to see results.

As you build up resilience, fitness, and confidence, you can start to increase the frequency and length of your workouts.

It’s better to start out small and ramp up the effort, rather than bite off more than you can chew.

Take it slow, make it a part of your life.

Think of cardio as a pillar of your life, something that you cannot fully exist without. After you have started seeing the benefits and life-enriching results that it brings, this will happen automatically.

What Types of Exercise Can I Do For Cardio?

If running, swimming, biking, walking, or jogging, don’t float your boat, don’t worry. These are NOT the only cardiovascular exercises out there.

Here are a few other ideas to get you started:

  • Circuit training
  • Rowing machine
  • Cross-trainer
  • Plyometrics
  • Skipping rope
  • Steppers

To help you out, I’ve gathered a bunch of different exercises and created a MONSTER list of cardio activities. Be sure to check it out for inspiration and a ton of ready-made workout routines!

Final Words: Cardio is In Your DNA

As human beings, cardio is in our DNA. It’s something we can’t – and shouldn’t live without. A regular cardio exercise regime is central to a happy, healthy life.

If you’re new to the idea, don’t freak out – start easy and work your way up. Keep your workouts to a couple of days a week – soon you’ll be seeing the light, and there will be no turning back!


Exercise, cardio, and diet. The three pillars to better health!

If you need to learn more about cardio exercise, check out my super-popular resource to cardiovascular exercise – PACKED with health hacks and actionable tips!

See you there!

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