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Image of runners in a road race taken from the torsos down.

Why is Cardio Important

You pole. You may perform in aerial silks. You do Lyra tricks. You’re feeling very strong. You have great nutritional habits. You feel that you are incredibly healthy. Is cardio still necessary?

The short answer — YES.

The American Heart Association recommends at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity aerobic activity every week. Aerobic activities include brisk walking, running, dancing, hiking, biking and swimming. These activities help reduce the risk for heart attack and stroke. Which activity is best? The one that you will do consistently! Seriously — you choose. Hate running? No problem — dancing is something we all do in pole so why don’t supplement your pole dancing with Zumba, or some other type of aerobic exercise dance class. Zumba classes can make you feel sexy – swing your hips and get your heart rate up!

Group Exercise and Cardio

Group exercise is a great way to get your cardiovascular exercise. Road races are also a fun way to get some cardio time — and receive a t-shirt and possibly a medal, too! Most local road races have entry fees of $20-35 so if you get addicted to this activity, it could get expensive!

Group exercising is beneficial to a person in more aspects than just cardiovascular training. It offers a social and fun environment, usually with a group exercise instructor who is able to keep everyone safe. Group exercise is good for all levels and there are usually modifications for beginners and challenging modifications for more advanced individuals. There are many cardio classes at most gyms — Zumba, POP Pilates, even aqua exercises (water workouts are both challenging and easy on the joints) at some gyms or fitness centers.

Solo Cardio

Don’t belong to a gym? Grab your Nikes and hit the road for a great walk or run. This is an excellent opportunity to view nature. Notice the small things – bees merrily buzzing around flowers and the clouds in the sky. Develop an appreciation for the natural beauty in your environment that we sometimes take for granted.

Weather miserable? Hit up Amazon for a couple of cheap DVDs – there are a variety of options to choose from. YouTube is also a great resource. Here is a beginner cardiovascular exercise video by Jillian Michaels: Jillian Michaels’ 30 Day Shred: Level 1. Some other keywords you could search for include cardio, walking, dancing, HIIT.

Benefits of Cardio Summary

The benefits of cardio are wide and vary with each individual, but here are some possible benefits you could receive:

  • Improved heart health
  • Weight loss
  • Increased bone density
  • Sleep improvement
  • Increased metabolism
  • Increased muscle tone (ex: running and leg muscles)
  • Helpful with diabetes management by making the body use glucose more efficiently
  • Being able to outrun zombies in case of the zombie apocalypse

The bottom line — even if you’re super strong from pole dancing, you should probably engage in some cardio activity. Get your significant other or children involved — this could be a great way to motivate your family to be healthy and set the tone for children to cultivate a lifelong habit of healthiness.

Mina Vera
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