Not everyone loves running. For the lucky few, running is fun, and they enjoy the endorphins that they produce and get their heart rate pumping. But if you are like many of the rest of us, cardio is not exactly the fun thing to do. Running is just so hard, and treadmills can get boring easily. It can be tempting to skip cardio sessions every now and again. But, despite the pain, cardio is an essential for any good workout plan. Here are three key reasons why cardio is an important part of your fitness plan.

Burn More Calories

The first reason why cardio is an important part of your fitness plan is because it helps you to burn more calories. If your ultimate goal is weight loss, or seeking more tone and definition, then you are going to have to use a calorie deficit to lose fat. You can do this by reducing your calorie intake or by increasing your energy expenditure. Cardio is the best way to raise your energy expenditure and help you burn more calories while still getting to eat the same portions and meals as before.

Improve Your Heart Health

Another crucial reason why cardio is important to any good fitness plan is that it is essential to improve your heart health. Your heart is a muscle, like all the other muscles in your body, and exercising it makes it stronger. Cardiovascular exercise is a great way to strengthen your heart. Cardiac arrest is one of the leading causes of death in the U.S. By performing regular cardiovascular exercise, you are able to significantly decrease your risk of cardiovascular disease or heart attack. Your heart may be the single most important organ in your body, and cardio is your best way to take care of it.

Reduces Stress

The final reason why cardio is an important part of your fitness plan is because it is a great stress reliever. A fitness plan is not just about your life in the gym, but about how you can lead a healthier life all around. Your stress management and mental health should be factored into your fitness plan as well. The truth is, cardio releases a crazy number of endorphins, feel good chemicals, into our brains, which can dramatically decrease stress and even help alleviate symptoms of depression.

Cardio is an essential part of your fitness plan, even though it may not be your favorite. Cardio helps to protect your heart and boost your fitness in other ways. Find a method of cardio that you enjoy the most and stick to it to reap the benefits.

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