I just love the feeling of coming back from gym after a fantastic cardio session. I am talking about the blood pumping, happy endorphins doing their job and the general feeling of being satisfyingly tired.

I’m sure some readers understand precisely what I mean and equally I believe some are thinking enjoying exercise? Are you serious?

The wonderful thing about exercise is that it is never too late to start. A huge part of starting out on the seemingly daunting path of exercise is actually all in the mind. If you are super skinny, an overweight person, a diabetic or a health nut – there is a fitness routine that would suit your body type and lifestyle perfectly. We live in such a wonderful information age that all the info is literally available at our fingertips.

Taking those first exercise steps and taking it seriously is the key to unlocking a whole new you.

There are ample benefits of cardiovascular exercise. Let’s first focus on your brain: Even just dressing and getting ready for your run or walk or whatever you choose, your brain is already getting pumped and you instinctively start to breathe faster and your heart rate quickens. As you start to sweat, your brain sends out “happy” endorphins that lift your mood and create the “runner’s high”. These endorphins are nature’s painkillers.

The benefits for your lungs: For fat and carbs to be converted into fuel for your muscles, your body needs oxygen. What it comes down to is that the harder you work, the harder you breathe, and the more calories you will burn.

Now let’s talk about what it does for your heart: During exercise the amount of oxygen in the blood is increased. Your heart will beat faster, which increases the blood flow to your muscles and back to your lungs.

And your muscles: When you are busy with a low intensity workout, your aerobic fibres are doing the work as these fibres have stamina. During high intensity workouts, the anaerobic fibres are at work (like when you sprint). They are strong and gives you that oomph, but that oomph drains away quickly.

Cardio tackles fat cells: When you start jogging, walking or running like a wildebeest on migration (slow and steady, taking it all in your stride at a comfortable pace) your body burns more fat than carbs. To burn fat, your body needs plenty of oxygen so take deep easy breaths. The main point is to make it a well-timed session.

Naturally you should speak to a professional before starting to exercise. But even though it may seem like a literal mountain lying in front of you, consider this – just starting with a 20 minute walk three times a week will already show results. If you have diabetes, specific exercises are recommended. For great inspiration, follow this link to a list of exercises specially created for a diabetic on the Lekker Sweets website.

Wishing you all the happy endorphins you can stand.

I’ll blog back soon.

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