The Benefits of Cardio Training

Welcome to the 2nd in my series of demystifying exercise posts. This time I’m focusing on cardio, mostly because people say ‘I’ve eaten a pizza but it’s ok because I’m going for a jog later’. I hate to burst your bubble but it’s worth WAY more than just burning a few calories. 

When people talk about ‘cardio’ they basically mean anything that works your cardiovascular system (heart + lungs). You could argue that this includes just about everything that we do on a daily basis but I’m focusing on specific activities that we do to strengthen the cardiovascular system. 

I’m also lumping various cardio training systems together for this post, look out for future posts to delve deeper into specific systems (e.g. high intensity interval training (HIIT), low intensity steady state (LISS) etc.)

Here are my top reasons why you should be cardio training if you’re not already:

1) Weight control – Cardio training raises your heart rate significantly from resting which means that you will need to use energy to keep going. Once you have used the readily-available supplies of glucose within the muscles, your body will begin to burn fat throughout the session and for some time afterwards

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2) Increased body efficiency – Through consistent cardio training the body adapts to increase blood flow to muscles and remove waste (CO2 & lactic acid) more efficiently meaning that your endurance increases. You know that burning feeling that makes you stop? It will go away with commitment, I promise

3) Better heart health – One of the adaptations from cardio training is increased stroke volume in your heart i.e. your heart can pump more blood around your body with each beat. This can have the effect of lowering your resting heart rate and potentially decreasing your blood pressure, putting less strain on your heart

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FYI, there are battle ropes in there somewhere, I’m just making them move faster than the human eye (ok, faster than the shutter on my iPhone camera…)

4) Happy brain – As well as the release of endorphins that any exercise triggers in our brains, there is something about getting out and about and unplugging for a while. Whether you’re running, hiking, swimming, cycling, spinning, dancing or whatever form your cardio training is taking, use the opportunity to unplug from technology, chat with friends or just spend some time with your own thoughts 

5) Unclog those arteries – Cardio training can decrease levels of low-density lipoproteins (LDLs), the bad cholesterol whilst increasing levels of high-density lipoproteins (HDLs), the good cholesterol. This is important as you age to keep your cholesterol within the healthy range

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So what are you waiting for?! Just get out there and raise your heart rate!

Edge Cycle Well And Truly Took Me To The Edge

I’ve been neglecting my resolution to try out new classes every 2 weeks so when I was given the opportunity to try out a new spin studio in London I jumped at the chance.

Enter Edge Cycle.

It’s aim is to offer a combination of indoor cycling and bootcamp-style group workouts, which it does from its beautiful brand new studio in Holborn.

I signed up for a 07:30 class, which felt VERY early when I met my friend Kate of Form Fitness at 07:00 in London Fields. After a swift cycle over to Holborn we arrived at Edge Cycle and signed in.

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I put on my first ever pair of cleats and jumped onto the practice bike in reception to get used to clicking in and out of the pedals.

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I was a bit excited. Also, look how fast my legs were going, they’re so blurry…

We went into the studio and were called to the front row by the instructor, Jono, via the weights rack where we picked up sets of 3kgs. They felt pretty heavy and we hadn’t even started anything yet!

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The bikes were lovely and new with a fresh towel sitting on the handlebars. We took to our saddles and started warming up.

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As soon as the clock ticked over to 07:30 Jono turned the lights down, pumped the music up and got us going. The first 20-25 minutes were spent going through a series of hill climbs, sprints and shoulder presses and shoulder raises whilst cycling. At this point, the weights got even heavier…

Just as I thought I was going to have to slow down we jumped off the bikes onto the mats and went through a set of squats, lunges, planks, press ups and crunches. Whilst I love all of this stuff I found it very difficult in the cleats, especially the lunges and jump squats, so next time I’d probably stick with my trainers.

We then climbed back on the backs for a last sprint, last hill climb and some conditioning work on the bikes. Then, before I knew it, we were cooling down.

I would have preferred a bit more encouragement as we went through the class as I felt a bit isolated, especially when I was struggling, but Jono was confident and kept me guessing as to what was coming next. It meant that just as it was becoming too difficult we switched to something else and it became manageable again. I also would have liked a few more sprints as that’s when I get into the zone.

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I was absolutely dripping in sweat after the 45 minute class but I was totally buzzing and that buzz has lasted all day!

The showers, while small and rather public (no shyness allowed!), were clean with lovely toiletries and hairdryers. They even have hairbands in the Edge Cycle colours on the front desk if you’ve forgotten yours which is a great touch.

All in all, I thoroughly enjoyed my first class. It was a brilliant all-round workout in a great new studio and I’ll be back very soon…

Details

What? Edge Cycle Bootcamp

Where? 2 Leather Lane, London, EC1N 7RA

When? Check out the timetable here

How much? £15/class bought on a class-by-class basis, prices decrease if you buy multi-passes

Thanks to Sophie @ Be Pretty Fit and Entice Communications for the opportunity to review Edge Cycle!