Cardio? Why is it so important?

Written by Rob Norman, Duty Manager, Riverside Gloucester

Why Cardio?

There are a number of benefits which come with cardiovascular exercise, or cardio for short. In this blog we will look into the positive effects that cardio can have on your day to day life. Cardio can include walking, running, cycling or cross training, and has its well-deserved place in many training plans. Cardio is the 10-minute cycle ride at the start of a workout, the 30-minute swim at the end of the day or the marathon that your friend dared you to enter. Regardless of your fitness level. A cardio goal can be fun and challenging to strive for. So, why not set yourself a target and dust off those running shoes?

The Benefits!

The benefits of cardio seem endless, which is why the World Health Organisation recommend 150 minutes per week of moderate aerobic exercise or 75 minutes of intense aerobic exercise1. Cardio can help boost your wellbeing by lowering your resting heart rate, lowering blood pressure, and reducing the chances of cardiovascular disease2. Therefore, cardio can also improve other bodily functions such as improving insulin sensitivity2 which may help to counteract diabetes. There are even mental benefits such as an improved memory3. These health benefits make cardio training a fantastic addition to an exercise plan!

Riverside Cardio

Importance of Cardio?

Now more than ever, cardio is being used for medicine, rehabilitation and for the prevention of disease. Furthermore, one study4 has demonstrated that an aerobic exercise plan improved the walking abilities of stroke survivors during early recovery and there is even some evidence that cardio can improve mental or cognitive capabilities in patients with Alzheimers disease5. In some cases, it can even improve symptoms of Parkinson’s disease6. Clearly there are many more benefits to aerobic exercise than just fitness.

Why Riverside?

You may now be asking “how do I get started?”. A top tip would be to join a beginner-friendly club, such as the Riverside Striders running club. You can learn about different types of cardio and even make some new friends along the way. If a club is not the way you want to go, then training with a friend can be just as enjoyable and will certainly make the time fly. You should start off slow, become comfortable with your limits and make sure to bring a bottle of water to keep hydrated. Above all, if you have any questions, then feel free to call Riverside Gloucester on 01452 413214 or ask any one of our friendly fitness team.

Finally, good luck with your training, and we at Riverside Gloucester all hope to see you soon!


  1. 2020. WHO | Physical Activity And Adults. [online] Available at: <> [Accessed 8 October 2020].
  2. Nystoriak, M. and Bhatnagar, A., 2018. Cardiovascular Effects and Benefits of Exercise. Frontiers in Cardiovascular Medicine, [online] Available at: <> [Accessed 8 October 2020].
  3. Roig, M., Nordbrandt, S., Geersten, S. and Nielsen, J., 2013. The Effects of Cardiovascular Exercise on human memory: A review with meta-analysis. Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews, [online] 37(8), pp.1645- 1666. Available at: <> [Accessed 8 October 2020].
  4.  Billinger, S., Mattlage, A., Ashenden, A., Lentz, A., Harter, G. and Rippee, M., 2012. Aerobic Exercise in Subacute Stroke Improves Cardiovascular Health and Physical Performance. Journal of Neurologic Physical Therapy, 36(4), pp.159-165.
  5. Morris, J., Vidoni, E., Johnson, D., Van Sciver, A., Mahnken, J., Honea, R., Wilkins, H., Brooks, W., Billinger, S., Swerdlow, R. and Burns, J., 2017. Aerobic exercise for Alzheimer’s disease: A randomized controlled pilot trial. PLOS ONE, 12(2), p.e0170547.
  6. Skidmore, F., Patterson, S., Shulman, L., Sorkin, J. and Macko, R., 2008. Pilot safety and feasibility study of treadmill aerobic exercise in Parkinson disease with gait impairment. The Journal of Rehabilitation Research and Development, 45(1), pp.117-124.