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The Head-to-Toe Benefits of a Cardio Workout

Author: Rosemary Buckle, M.D.

You know cardiovascular activity (running, swimming, etc.) is good for the heart… but did you know there are countless other benefits associated with lacing up your running shoes or hopping on the bicycle?

A new infographic from Cleveland Clinic (reposted below) touches on a few of the main benefits that may be achieved through regular cardiovascular activity, which is defined as:

  • One 30-minute workout, five or more days per week


  • Three 10-minute workouts, five or more days per week

Check out thirteen areas where cardiovascular activity may help improve your health and quality of life. As always, talk with your physician before beginning a new exercise routine.


  • Increase blood flow and decrease risk of stroke
  • Improves memory and thinking ability
  • Combats decline in brain functioning with age
  • Helps protect against developing Alzheimer’s disease

Learn more about what happens to your brain when you exercise.


  • Increases circulation, leading to a clearer, healthier skin


  • Helps control blood sugar
  • Improves “good” cholesterol levels and lowers blood fats


  • Increases oxygen supply, allowing muscles to work harder
  • Allows muscles to adapt to an increased work-load, making regular activities seem easier


  • Improves blood sugar control
  • Decreases stress on the pancreas
  • Reduces your chance of developing type 2 diabetes


  • Helps decrease demands on lungs as exercise ability improves
  • Helps reduce fatigue and shortness of breath in those with chronic lung problems


  • Helps you maintain a healthy weight by burning more calories throughout the day

Sexual Function

  • Decreases the chance of erectile dysfunction in men
  • Leads to enhanced arousal for women

Bones & Joints

Did you know that walking four hours a week can reduce your risk of hip fractures by up to 43%?


  • Boosts mood, especially after a stressful day
  • Combats depression
  • Improves self-esteem

Anxiety & Stress

  • Releases tension-fighting hormones, such as serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine


  • The right amount helps you fall asleep faster and promotes REM sleep.

Learn More: “Sleep & Athletic Performance: 5 Reasons to Get Your Rest”


  • Releases endorphins, giving you more lasting energy throughout your day

Schedule With a Houston Sports Medicine Doctor

For other Houston sports medicine needs, schedule an appointment at Houston Institute for Sports Medicine & Orthopedics by calling (713) 756-5546. You can also schedule your appointment online.

Please consult with your physician before undertaking any form of medical treatment or adopting any exercise program or dietary guidelines.