Originally posted on the FIT4MOM blog
Written by: Jessica Maurer & JoAnna Zapata
At FIT4MOM, we believe exercise isn't about losing weight or what the scale says. Movement helps you feel better, de-stress, improves brain function, and can leave you in a better mood.
A great way to boost your mood is to perform cardiorespiratory (or cardiovascular) training - more commonly known as "cardio." This training style improves one's overall fitness while relieving stress, increasing bone density, and providing more energy. Cardio is any activity that raises one's heart rate and maintains an elevated state for an extended period.
During cardio training, your heart becomes stronger and more efficient; this increases the capacity of the heart, blood vessels, and lungs to deliver oxygen and nutrients to the working muscles for energy production. This training style will also lower your risk of cardiovascular disease, hypertension, and type 2 diabetes as your cardiovascular system strengthens.
Additionally, studies have shown that cardio training helps moms of all ages and stages of motherhood reduce the risk of anxiety, depression, dementia, and insomnia. Exercise produces neurotransmitters such as epinephrine, serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine. These fun molecules influence your energy levels, thoughts, and emotions. Dopamine and serotonin feed into the brain's pleasure centers, which is why many people can feel great, or even a little 'high,' after a challenging workout.
There are different ways to practice cardio fitness: steady-state training & intervals. At FIT4MOM, we love all cardio workouts; we offer a running program called Run Club+ (check out this blog for some running tips!), a more steady-state cardio class called Strides 360, and Body Boost, our class that focuses on interval training.
You will experience high-intensity interval training in Body Boost, also known as HIIT. You perform a cardio movement with high intensity, followed by strength and core training at a lesser intensity.
JoAnna Zapata started her FIT4MOM journey with FIT4MOM Frankfort/Lemont, IL, in 2017 as a brand new mom, struggling with Postpartum Depression and lacking mom friends. Just 15 minutes into her first class, JoAnna knew she had found her Village. A few months later, she became an instructor after discovering her passion for coaching during an 8-week Body Well program.
JoAnna shares, "I love interval training because it is the best of both worlds. The short interval of cardio allows moms to focus on one goal. Then she can shift her focus to the mind-muscle connection during the strength and core intervals. You get a total-body experience!"
At FIT4MOM, we respect all bodies, and we understand that jumping is just not fun on some days. We want you to keep in mind that intensity during cardio movements doesn't always mean impact - there are other ways to increase your heart rate besides jumping. Here are five ways to increase your intensity, get in a quick cardio workout, and instantly boost your mood.