Why You Should Do Cardio On The Keto Diet
Think Keto is Good for You? Then You’re Going to Love the Benefits of Cardio!
The benefits of cardio include speeding up your metabolism, helping you de-stress, and even anti-aging benefits!
Do enough cardio and catching the bus or train at the last minute gets a whole lot easier. Do even more cardio and you could be improving your mental and physical health. And do just a tisch more cardio than that and you can tap into some anti-aging benefits!
Keep in mind, however, that your cardio is part of a healthy lifestyle and not just something you do so you can lose some pounds. That’s the mistake people make when that turn to something like the keto diet: they aren’t ready to commit for life to being healthy. And, guess what, yo-yo dieting is not healthy! So, sign up for that spin class, hop on that elliptical, or use the stairmaster while doing lunges to take advantage of the benefits of cardio.
Cardio lowers bad cholesterol.
I was 28-years-old but I already had bad cholesterol. It wasn't so bad that I had to take meds, but it was bad enough that the doctor noted it on my chart. Immediately, I Googled what it actually meant to have bad cholesterol. Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) is the cholesterol you don't want; high-density lipoprotein (HDL) is the cholesterol you do want. LDL coats your veins, setting the stage for heart disease. HDL, meanwhile, protects you from LDL. Thanks to the keto diet and to cardio, I was finally able to get my cholesterol levels just right!
Cardio improves blood pressure.
Luckily, I didn't also have to lower my blood pressure. But, if I did, one of the benefits of cardio is that it helps with blood pressure too. Simply put, physical activity is a work out for your heart. The more your heart can handle the easier it is for your heart to pump blood. If it takes less effort for your heart to pump blood, your arteries get smaller (just like your waist!) and your blood pressure goes down. In fact, for some people adding physical activity to their lives can be just as effective as using blood pressure medication!
Cardio makes you better at handling stress.
While I didn’t have high blood pressure, I did need help with how I handled stress. Consciously subjecting yourself to stress as you do during cardio makes your body better at handling stress. Additionally, by entering into a flow state (also known as “being in the zone”), you’re giving yourself a much needed break from your day. Plus, you get that nice sense of accomplishment, endorphins, and, if you really gotta, a great place to cry.
If you’re crying so regularly that you might be experiencing a depressive episode (“OMG, I’M 28 AND I HAVE HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE WHAT AM I DOING WITH MY LIFE?!”), then one of the benefits of cardio is that it adds structure and regularity to your life. Remember, when dealing with depression it’s important to do the opposite of what a depressed person would do, no matter how hard it may be to put on your running shoes. It gets better!
Cardio helps keep you in ketosis and maintain your caloric deficit.
If you accidentally consume more carbs on a given day, then you can do enough cardio to balance it out. that’s the idea behind targeted ketosis, where you eat 10 to 20 grams of carbs before and after your workout so that you can work out harder and aid in recovery.
Cardio also balances out your caloric deficit, which is useful to know in case you eat too much bacon or steak thinking, “Hey, it’s the keto diet! I can eat as much protein and fat as I want. Weeeee OH NO I AM CHOKING BECAUSE I WAS TOO GLEEFUL WHILE EATING!” Don’t get too gleeful while eating! Especially since a healthy lifestyle requires rest days and if you’re eating too much on the regular than you’re going to end up slowing your progress.
Cardio releases human growth hormone.
"You're going to want human growth hormone; I guarantee it." That's how the Men's Warehouse would market this indispensable protein. Responsible for building and repairing muscle, maintaining energy, and even providing anti-aging properties, human growth hormone (HGH) is released during cardio.
"HGH is wasted on the young," says nobody. That's because it makes sense for the greatest amount of HGH to be released during your teenage years. But it really stinks that HGH production drops off in your late 20s when you're finally starting to get a handle on this thing called life (despite what crying during cardio may suggest).
Luckily, the things you're already doing as part of your keto diet encourage your body to produce more HGH! Just reducing your sugar intake increases the amount of HGH your body produces. And if you're already doing cardio, take it up a notch by adding high intensity interval, weights, or circuit training. Or, as Men’s Health reports, you can also do a cardio workout for 45 minutes or more at least two days a week.
Cardio temporarily increases your metabolism.
Doing cardio doesn't change your resting metabolic rate, which is the rate at which you burn calories just sitting around doing nothing. But, when you do cardio your metabolism can go up for upwards of 48 hours because your body is recovering after your workout. This phenomena is known as excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC). The more intense your workout the greater your EPOC. And if we're shooting for weight loss, then we're going to want all the help we can get!
Cardio is fun!
I prefer saying, “I have fat,” to, “I am fat,” because everyone has fat and there’s nothing wrong with that. Studies have even shown that having what’s considered excess fat isn’t necessarily indicative of poor health. A great reason to do cardio, then, is that it’s just an avenue to having fun. Look how happy I look! That’s the smile of a man on keto finishing a six mile run. And while that’s one of the first photos of my emerging six-pack, it’s also one of the first photos of my emerging best self. No tears shed during that run! Just me feeling good thanks to keto and cardio!