Anyone who’s trying to get in shape and lose some weight has probably already gotten plenty of information on the best way to do so. While some swear by strict diets, others claim that nothing’s going to help you until you start with a cardio routine. The truth is somewhere in the middle; even though there are those who swear by aerobic exercises, there are also people who are positive that cardio routine won’t make any difference. Here’s what we know:
What is cardio
Out of the sea of possible exercise types and routines, what exactly is cardio? This type of exercise refers to a rhythmic activity which will raise your heart rate, and as a result, your body will burn most fat and calories. The trick is that you have to do the exercise for more than ten minutes in order to really feel the benefits it brings for your body, but this might be difficult for some. On the other hand, there are some fitness trainers and specialists who state that cardio exercise won’t help you lose fat. For your cardio routine to be efficient, you have to take into account several important factors.
Why it’s good
Nobody can deny that exercise is good for you, but when it comes to aerobic exercise or cardio, people swear that they can see results rather soon. There are many benefits that this type of activity brings you, and burning fat and weight loss are just the tips of the iceberg. Because it increases your heart rate and keeps it that way for a while, it also makes your heart strong and reduces the risk of heart attack and high blood pressure. In addition to this, cardio increases your lung capacity and helps keep your cholesterol levels in check.
Types of cardio
There are three types of cardio exercises based on your heart rate intensity while you’re doing them. HIIT – High-Intensity Interval Training makes you use somewhere between 75 and 85% of your MHR (maximum heart rate). As a result, you will stay out of breath and can feel exhausted afterwards. Moderate-intensity cardio makes you use about 60% of your MHR, and this is the level that most specialists recommend people to focus on during workouts. Low-intensity cardio isn’t too difficult as it makes you use less than 50% of your MHR, so it’s great for warming up as well as cooling down after a workout.
It can cause an overuse injury
People who claim that cardio is a waste of time have often suffered an injury during their workouts, and it probably took a lot of time for them to recover. It’s easy to get an overuse injury if you do too much cardio or you’re not exercising the right way. Running more than 20 miles a week will probably cause certain health problems, and if you’re running these distances regularly, chances are you’ve already been to see your doctor, physiotherapist, or chiropractor. When you do a repetitive exercise for a long time, it can cause your body to suffer and you can expect overuse injuries.
It’s easy to implement in your daily routine
The best thing about certain types of cardio is that they can be easily applied to your everyday life. For example, you could try to walk more or to cycle every day. There are even electric bikes you can use to commute every day and save some money on gas every month. If you’re not sure whether you’ll be able to find the right bike for you in store, you can always order Bicycles Online and get the model that suits your needs. Another great idea is to make a habit out of walking for half an hour every day – you can take your pet for a walk, or you can invite your friend for a brief walk around the park every other day and make a healthy habit out of it.
It will improve your mood
Another reason why so many people love doing cardio exercise is the fact that it makes you feel good and even better – there is evidence that suggests that cardio can provide temporary relief from depression and ease your stress as well as anxiety. Because it can be exhausting, you’ll be more likely to sleep better every night, and you might even notice some positive changes in your sex drive too. All this will boost your confidence, and when you start to see positive changes in your body (losing weight and becoming stronger), you’ll be even more motivated to further pursue this healthy habit.
There is no ‘universal’ exercise
Contrary to popular belief, there is no such thing as “the best cardio exercise” for weight loss. For some people, running gives the best results and they swear by it, while for others it might be swimming or cycling. There are people who can’t stand running but love cycling, and those who don’t ever want to enter a swimming pool but do hours of exhausting HIIT sessions at the gym. Remember that we are all different and that you should give several types of exercise a chance before you decide that cardio ‘just isn’t for you’.
You might need to add something
If you’ve been working hard and spend a lot of time exercising without getting the desired results, it might be a sign that cardio alone isn’t enough for you. Doing a lot of cardio without results can be frustrating, but it doesn’t mean you should give up. You are doing a lot of it and you are not getting results. That goes for any form of training. There are people who are doing huge amounts of cardio (sometimes even 7 hours a week), but they don’t lose fat. If something similar is happening to you, it’s a sign that you need something else in your exercise routine. Don’t be afraid to do some lifting or even add a yoga class or two, and the results will soon follow.
Doing any kind of exercise is great for your body and your overall health, but the key is in moderation. If you’re pushing yourself too hard, you might end up injured or sick, and that will only slow you down further. In order to get the best results, you need to come up with an exercise routine that will suit you best, but also to change your diet accordingly. Only then will you get great and long-lasting results.
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