Though Cardio Exercise Risks Are Few, They Are Significant
Many studies confirm the benefits of cardiovascular conditioning, popularly known as aerobics or cardio. Numerous peer-reviewed studies show that aerobics prevents high blood pressure, diabetes and heart disease, as well as reducing the risk for some cancers. The benefits of aerobics are not limited to physical health. Studies also indicate mental health benefits such as reduced depression and improved brain function.
Aerobics is one of 3 distinct kinds of exercise that studies show are absolutely essential to our health, the other two being strength training and stretching. And here is where the danger of aerobics lies – your body needs these three kinds of exercise regularly and any one of them alone will NOT keep you healthy!
So what happens if you do aerobic exercise and nothing else? There are a couple of ill effects. Let’s explore them. First, aerobics does not build muscle tissue. Aerobics burns calories but does nothing to restore the muscle that we are losing all over the body after about age 30. Muscle is critical to balance and the prevention of falls which are the leading cause of injury-related death among the elderly. Muscle is also essential for protecting our joints from injury. Thus doing only cardio exercise can give us a false sense of health!
This is not to say aerobics is less important than the other 2 essential exercises. Aerobics strengthens your heart and improves your stamina like no other exercise.
There’s another danger in doing ONLY aerobic exercise. This danger pertains to those who use aerobics to lose weight. Fitness research has found that cardio workouts cause food cravings. We all know how difficult it is to ignore food cravings – nearly impossible. The best solution is to add strength training to your workout which decreases our craving for food.
Oh, and one more thing. Pilates is one of the few exercise methods that includes all three of the different kinds of exercise the body needs – stretching, strength training, and cardio. You get both stretching and strength training from the very first Pilates exercise you learn. Cardio is added later when you reach the intermediate and advanced levels and remove pauses between each exercise. Thus with Pilates you can avoid both cardio issues reviewed here.