Cardio: Just How Important Is This Type Of Exercise?

If you’re like most people who have attempted to get fit, you’ve probably done some cardio and hated it. Only a rare few people actually enjoy cardio. This is usually because people stick to the same old boring cardio routine for too long, and they believe that cardio is the be all and end all.

The fact is; cardio is not the be all and end all. Yes, it’s important, but so is incorporating other types of exercise. Resistance training/weights in particular is important, as it’ll help your body burn fat, build muscle, improve shape, strength, and so much more. It is bar far the superior exercise if you want to burn off fat and change the shape of your body.

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How To Fit Cardio Into Your Fitness Routine

So, you know cardio is important, but also that it’s not the most important type of exercise. Weight training should be performed around 3-5 times per week to reap the benefits. Providing you’re consistent and you work at a plan that you enjoy, you will notice the benefits of weight training much quicker than you would notice any physical benefits of cardio!

However, knowing how to fit cardio into your routine is also essential. A good goal to aim for is 25 minutes of cardio 3 times a week. You could do cardio before or after your regular sessions - many people prefer to do it afterwards so that they can use the most of their energy on weights. Some people choose to do cardio on their days off from lifting, or on their upper body days.

You can also get in your cardio and improve your cardiovascular fitness by walking as much as you can. Aiming for 10,000 steps a day is ideal, although you can build yourself up to that in the beginning. You may want to visit a heart doctor to make sure you’re in good health before starting a plan such as this and to get professional advice.

Different Types Of Cardio

It helps to know about the different types of cardio so you can switch things up and make sure you’re reaching your goals effectively. HIIT can be done a couple of times a week- this stands for high intensity interval training. You will sprint for around 30 seconds, and then have 30-60 seconds rest and repeat. It can be very taxing on your nervous system though, so do it in moderation! Steady state cardio can be a brisk walk, you could also cycle, or go to an aerobics based class.

Benefits of Cardio

Why you should aim for a minimum of 3 sessions of cardio per week:
  • Helps in building stamina
  • Can help you to stay in a calorie deficit and burn body fat
  • Prevents cholesterol and high blood pressureHelps in maintaining bone density and age-related bone-mineral loss
  • Helps in better supply of oxygen to brain, thereby improving brain function
  • Keeps your heart healthy
  • Improves mood
  • Fights stress
  • Alleviates depression
  • Improves your quality of sleep
  • Improves concentration
  • Will help you to build your metabolism

Remember, make sure you fit in your cardio to suit your goals. If you don’t want to burn muscle, for instance, you may want to stick to walking or HIIT sessions. You should never be running for more than 40 minutes, as you’ll begin to eat into your muscle stores!

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