Cardio is awful and having to do it disgusts me. So why do we still do cardio? Just to suffer? Nope, just like paying your taxes so you don’t get arrested, cardio is a necessary evil. Doing cardio is insanely good for your heart and lungs, as well as being a great way to burn off calories. I think everybody should include some type of exercise in their daily routine and cardio is probably the most conducive towards long term health. So, with all the benefits in mind, why is cardio still the absolute worst?
The first time I started experimenting with cardio was in freshman year of high school, when I joined my school’s cross-country team. I dabbled in recreational sports like soccer before high school, but cross-country was a whole different beast. From the very first day I joined the team, I had to run miles over and over again. For what seemed as if an endless number of weeks, I was keeled over on the track after practice, in a pile of my own sweat, wallowing in self-pity. It felt like my internal organs were attacking me after every run, like my lung and heart were in their own little race to see which one of them could kill me the fastest. Regardless, I soldiered through and didn’t quit the team, mostly because I didn’t want my teammates to think that I was some type of schlub.
Miraculously, through constant trial and error of trying not to perish at practice, I found myself steadily improving at running. Although I was still wallowing in piles of my own sweat, those piles of sweat were getting ever so slightly smaller. I think whatever self-improvement I was experiencing could have been what was pushing me to keep moving forward through all of the suffering. Or maybe it was because I was always experiencing a “runner’s high?” Or maybe I’m just a masochist that likes getting punished? Regardless of whatever reason I had to keep going, I was pushed to a place where I could I look at myself and my newfound resilience and feel pride. And for that, I blame cardio.
My experience with cardio solely being through running doesn’t mean that your experience in cardio has to be contained to only running as well. There are so many different ways to train cardio that could be more to your preference, like kickboxing or Zumba or jazzercise or anything of that ilk. Although with any type of cardio, it’s going to have to feel horrible before it starts feeling slightly less horrible. It gets a little easier every day. As long as you keep moving forward through the pain and anguish, it gets easier and easier. And honestly that’s the only hard part, dragging yourself out of bed to continue that everyday struggle, even when your lungs don’t have the strength to keep you going, so you just have to rely on your heart instead. But it does get easier.