The Dark Side of Cardio

I used to love cardio exercise and have done a LOT of it in my lifetime. I was a (slow) long-distance runner and bike racer. I loved both the solitude of a long run alone and the camaraderie of a 50-mile bike ride with friends.

Last November, when I went to lose the LAST 10 lb., I did NOT focus on cardio. Frankly I was tired of it, and mostly what it did was increase my appetite! I knew I needed to amp up my workouts, but I didn’t want to spend hours in the gym.

The best thing about cardio for me, since I don’t have any heart health issues, is it’s ability to help with stress relief. As it turns out, cardio is not only a great way of coping with stress, but it’s also good for your brain, at least when you get outside in nature.

Researchers at the University of Michigan found that attention and memory improve when you spend time in nature, as opposed to a city environment.  This finding supports a theory that goes back to William James, suggesting that there are 2 types of attention: involuntary and “directed” attention, which requires more focus. Being in nature captures your involuntary attention, while allowing your directed attention to rest, freeing up mental capital. In other words, your mind is relaxed!

So if you want to do cardio, go find a park or a bike trail. I used a strength training program to build muscle and burn fat.

As it turns out, new research shows that the body’s inability to build muscle is the NUMBER 1 predictor of accelerated aging! The more capable we are of putting muscle on our bodies, the longer we are going to live.

So, get me to the gym – I just don’t want to spend the day there!

Spending time in nature will reduce stress, and you will get unexpected benefits of increased memory and attention. If you reduce stress, you will reduce stress eating. Just don’t expect the pounds to fly off by pounding the treadmill alone!

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Psychologist, Master Certified Coach and Certified EFT Practitioner. She is one of the world’s leading experts in using Emotional Freedom Techniques to help people lose weight without dieting, stop binge eating, and reduce anxiety and stress. She is the author of 4 Books on Emotional Freedom Techniques, the EFT Tips Newsletter, the Binge Eating Teleseminar and the EFT Weight Loss CD. Carol has a thriving coaching practice and is passionate about helping others succeed.

3 thoughts on “The Dark Side of Cardio

  1. Carol,

    I enjoyed this post. I’ve been doing weight training for years now and have always enjoyed it, especially since it doesn’t require a great deal of my time (usually 30 minutes twice a week).

    I also agree about doing exercise outdoors. There’s something so easy and relaxing about being outdoors as compared to running on a treadmill:~)

  2. Oh I am so lucky to have a wonderful hike and bike trail where I exercise. I’ve been away from it for 2 months due to summer, but school starts Monday and I once again will revel in the beauty of nature by the river under shady trees. I might even take some photos Monday to celebrate and share with you on my blog. It will be like spending time with a wonderful friend I’ve not seen in a while. Yes, my camera on Monday morning at 8:15 a. m!

    I might do well also by purchasing some ankle weights, say 1 lbs ones to start, (the kind you can add to,) to alternate on my wrists with my walks. Will probably take a few weeks to get back into running, but it’s still so hot here anyway, I can ease slowly into it.

    Thanks for such wonderful inspiration Carol!

    .-= Jannie Funster´s last blog ..Yes, Kids Do Say The Darndest Things =-.

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