Cardio Is the New Crack

by Helen M. Ryan
Woman with towel and bulging eyes

Aerobic workouts makes you happier...

All we seem to hear lately is ‘extended bouts of cardio are bad and HIIT is the only cardio to do.’

I am here to disagree.

I don’t like HIIT. I do it sometimes, but I still don’t like it. I am getting older and sometimes this little ol’ body hurts and doesn’t want to jump as much anymore. I also feel like I burn out faster with too much HIIT.

Longer bouts of no/minimal impact cardio, on the other hand, I love. 

Aside from the physical benefits of cardio—reduced risk of heart disease, improved heart function, fresh oxygenated blood flow, reduction in risk of diabetes, high blood pressure, or stroke, and many more—there is another super important benefit: Cardio makes you happy and feel more energized.

If I am tired or in a bad mood and I do HIIT. I am still tired and still in a crap mood afterward.

If I am tired or in a bad mood and do some cardio (like Spinning, swimming, or brisk walk), I am more energized and much happier afterward.

Cardio workouts can help ease depression, anxiety, and even ADHD. They can also help you sleep better, reduce the symptoms of PTSD, improve memory, and relieve stress. 

The bottom line? We need to like the exercise we do. If we don’t, we won’t exercise. The only type of exercise that works is the one that you will actually do. 

Burpees? If you like ’em, by all means, keep doing them. I’ll join you every now and then when I want to shake things up and I don’t have a lot of time. 

But I love how longer cardio workouts make me feel physically and mentally: Strong, re-energized, empowered, and happy!

Published May 17, 2015