LISS cardio is not only a great way to burn excess body fat, but it’s also comes with a whole range of powerful psychological benefits too.
This is becoming increasingly important in a world where people have lost their fitness levels and potentially their mental health due to lockdowns, lack of blood flow to the brain, and lack of endorphins. Anxiety levels are at an all time high, so it’s important that we have strategies to combat this.
Let’s get into the top six psychological benefits of low intensity steady state cardio.
1. It Reduces Anxiety & Stress
Anxiety can seriously ruin your life.
From panic attacks, to a decline in work performance, to ruined relationships, anxiety is a serious problem. It also wreaks havoc on your health over the long-term. External stressors like pandemics simply add to all this.
So if you’re feeling anxious right now and you’re looking for a solution, look no further than low intensity steady state cardio such as spinning workouts. It’s well documented in studies that people who do regular cardio are far less likely to suffer from anxiety. It’s often referred to as the most ‘natural’ anxiety cures.
Curing anxiety could be a complete game-changer – it’ll help you to sleep better at night, improve in social situations, and live a happier and more peaceful life.
My advice would be to make sure that your cardio sessions last ~30 minutes or longer, with your heart rate in the 70-85% zone of your max heart rate.
2. It Has Been Shown To Boost IQ
This can be useful for many reasons. Whether you’re looking to advance your career, get better at chess, or improve your learning ability for new skills, a higher IQ will be useful.
It’s true that some people are naturally smart. But if you’re really looking to maximise your intelligence and get the most out of life, you’d be wise to stick to a regular cardio routine (study).
I mean, how smart can someone be if they never exercise or test their body every so often?
3. It Improves Your Memory
In most studies regarding exercise, it’s well accepted now that people who exercise regularly tend to not only be faster learners, but they also have better memories.
This is largely due to the brain experiencing an increase in the growth of the hippocampus, which is responsible for increased memory storage. I also suspect that this is the same reason as to why exercise seems to protect against neurological diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinsons.
Another major reason cardio has such a powerful effect on the human memory, is that it increases brain-derived neurotrophic factor, which is a protein that plays a key role in memory storage and brain function.
Exercise truly does make you smarter – it would be smart to take advantage of this. It would also be smart to invest in a home gym where you can train without driving anywhere, and without having to mess around in the changing rooms. It’s a huge time saver for the busy individual.
4. It Helps To Prevent Addiction
It helps to prevent addiction to amphetamines, to cigarettes and even to food. Why? Because the endorphins become your new drug, a positive one. When you have ‘feel good’ chemicals flowing through your body, it becomes a lot harder to get addicted to other feelings, because you have options.
My personal theory is that addictions come from an obsession with ONE thing. So when you have a variety of things that make you feel really good, true addictions don’t seem to exist. This means that LISS cardio has a lot of indirect health benefits and psychological benefits.
If it reduces your addiction to certain foods, then weight loss becomes almost a guarantee. Something else I recommend to people who are looking to reduce their cravings (and sugar addictions) are 72 hour fasts (Read More) – you could combine the two together.
In some weird cases, people do actually get addicted to cardio – this is exactly what you want if you’re looking for a sure-fire way to stay in great shape for the rest of your life.
5. It Improves Your Attention Span
The biggest destroyer of an attention span in the modern world, is that little electronic device in your pocket. The dopamine release from that thing is just too strong, especially on social media. The second biggest one, is lack of exercise.
If you’re currently struggling to stay focused at work, or focused on what the other person is saying in general, you may need to up your cardio game. You may not be getting the optimal neurotransmitters to your brain, which is required for a strong memory and strong focus on the immediate moment. It’s the classic sign of someone who is too ‘stuck in their own head’.
6. It May Cure Depression
I’m not saying that it will, as depression can be complicated, and it can require deeper treatment. But one of the most powerful natural cures alongside things like sunlight and good relationships, is cardio. For both depression, and reducing stress in chaotic times.
Even cases of major depression can be helped with cardio – not just for the endorphins, but also the sense of accomplishment and self-esteem afterwards. If you can start burning fat and looking better in the mirror every morning, double this. For many reasons, self-esteem tends to sky-rocket within days (and definitely weeks) of starting a new cardio routine. This doesn’t have to be a bike either, it could be swimming, or team sports – whatever excites you.
If your depression is really strong right now and exercise seems really daunting, my advice would be to start with easier tasks, like increasing your omega 3 intake and simply getting some natural sunlight on your skin. Perhaps even investing in a light box and using it for 30 mins every morning, if that’s easier for you. The after a few weeks if you’re feeling better, revisit the cardio routine, as this is probably going to be the most powerful cure.
LISS cardio has a long list of psychological benefits that will really improve your life. From increased intelligence, to focus, to being the most powerful anti-depressant out there, cardio is fantastic.
It’s not just for fat loss or heart health. It’s for your brain, and with a top-tier brain comes a top-tier life.