Everything You Need to Know About Cardio
Exercise that raises the heart rate is known as cardiovascular exercise. Cardio has more advantages than weight loss, but some people use it exclusively for that purpose. I have tried to cover every possible question regarding cardio and why long-distance running, in my opinion, is the best cardio exercise. Let’s jump right into the topic, and further, we will discuss its advantages and how to build a healthy and efficient cardiovascular routine.
What Is Cardio?
Each rhythmic movement that lifts your heart rate into your target heart rate region is called cardio exercise or aerobic exercise. This is the region where the most fat and calories are burned.
Walking, running, cycling, and swimming are some of the most popular cardio exercises.
Part of what distinguishes fitness from other forms of exercise, such as weight training, depends on the body’s capacity to use oxygen during the workout. The cardio activity or capability of an individual can differ depending on a variety of factors.
According to the American Heart Association research, biology has a 20 to 40% impact on what you will do in terms of cardio. In addition, females have a 25% less cardio capacity than males, which declines with age for both sexes.
This suggests that your chromosomes, gender, or age can’t help you improve your cardiovascular health. Instead, this article aims to help you appreciate that various variables can affect how your body reacts to aerobic or cardio exercise.
Benefits of Cardio
Few things have all of the physical and mental health advantages that cardio exercise does in a limited amount of time. Cardio has several well-known advantages, including:
- Cardio helps you lose weight by burning fat and calories.
- Improves the quality of your sleep, particularly if you exercise at a moderate to vigorous intensity.
- Increases your lung space, or how much oxygen your lungs can carry.
- Increases the body’s capacity to become aroused, improves your sex life, and can also aid in the treatment of medication-related sexual dysfunction.
- When you do weight-bearing cardio exercises like hiking or ascending stairs, the bone structure improves.
- Reduces tension by strengthening your ability to deal with problems in a constructive way.
- It also makes you feel good and can also assist with depression and anxiety.
- Gives you more self-assurance about the way you look and act
- Reduces the chances of having a heart attack, having elevated cholesterol, having high blood pressure, having diabetes, and having certain types of cancer.
- Encourages those around you to work out by setting a positive example for them.
- Strengthens the muscles of the heart, allowing it to pump blood more efficiently.
How Long Should a Cardio Workout Last?
According to health experts, many people can do 150 minutes of aerobic workout or cardio exercise a week. More than 300 minutes of moderate-intensity physical exercise is recommended if you want to lose more than 5% of your body weight and hold it off.
Cardio is perfect, and you don’t have to work out for an hour to reap the results. And 10-minute workouts contribute to the average aerobic workout minutes. So, please find out how much work you’ll have to do each week and divide it up in a way that works for you.
Breaking your sessions into smaller 10 to 15-minute pieces can sound less difficult if you’re just getting started. As the exercise becomes smoother, increase the time by 5 minutes. Gradually increase the duration of your sessions to 30-60 minutes.
Frequency of Cardio Workouts
A variety of factors determines the frequency of aerobic exercises. Your health level, schedule, and expectations are among them.
If you’re new to fitness, want to be better, don’t have a lot of spare time, and aren’t concerned about losing weight, a little bit of exercise every day may help. If you’ve been exercising consistently for years, are accustomed to going to the gym for 60 minutes at a time, and are more concerned with muscle gain than fat loss, exercise 3-4 days per week should suffice.
It’s also important to think about strength when thinking about frequency. Every day, light to moderate-intensity aerobic exercises will usually be done. Long-distance running, on the other hand, necessitates more recovery days in between exercises. Mixing the two allows you to deal with various energy systems while still preventing burnout.
Guidelines for Cardio Frequency
Your fitness level and schedule will determine your exercise frequency. The below are few general guidelines:
- Try moderate-intensity aerobic for general fitness. 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise five days a week, or 20 minutes of vigorous-intensity cardio three days a week. You can also do a combination of the two.
- To achieve your weight-loss and/or regaining-weight targets, you will need to perform more than 300 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise each week.
- You require 150 to 300 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise a week to maintain stable body weight.
Excessive cardio is a no-no that can potentially backfire. Keep it fair (3–6 days a week, depending on your fitness level), change your strength, and remember to take rest days if required.
Is Running the Best Cardio For Weight Loss?
Runners participate in the event for a variety of reasons. No excuse is better than another for lacing up your sneakers and going out the door, whether it’s to get fit, see the city differently, or lose weight. Of course, you want to find the right exercise for your ambitions, and keeping your heart rate up is important if you want to lose weight. Many people question if running is the best type of cardio for losing weight. It isn’t as easy as saying “yes” or “no,” according to experts.
Stephanie Mansour, a globally recognized health and lifestyle expert and CEO of Step It Up With Steph, says, “The conventional response is: Whatever you’ll be consistent with.” “If you’d rather cycle than run, that’ll be preferable. However, any kind of cardio that raises the heart rate and that you can modify (by tempo, degree, or duration) is the best cardio for weight loss, according to science.”
Though the solution isn’t as simple as it is, a few basic mistakes we make when running for weight loss hold us stuck. Here’s what you need to hear about getting the best out of your cardio workouts and running your way to your desired weight.
THE KEY TO RUNNING FOR WEIGHT LOSS
When it comes to weight loss, the first few pounds are always the most straightforward. After that, you’re likely to find a snag. This may be discouraging, but accepting that you won’t reach your target weight in a matter of weeks is a vital first step. In reality, it may be the most crucial step, as it allows you to pursue the process in a safe and long-term manner.
Chris Hinshaw, top endurance coach and operator of aerobiccapacity.com, admits, “The greatest error is rushing for instant gratification.” “Many people believe that working out at a greater level is the quickest way to lose weight. This isn’t a long-term tactic because it often results in injury and a lack of motivation.”
Hinshaw suggests running at an easy-to-moderate pace if you’re only getting started with running to lose weight. This will not only improve your cardiorespiratory health but will also brace your bones, ligaments, and tendons for the long-term consequences of your lifestyle adjustment, according to him. Of course, we must keep in mind that everybody is different, so working with a trainer or instructor to figure out what works best for you is perfect. If you do not see the results you want, stick with a new routine for a few weeks before switching.
“Some individuals are too stressed out and have high cortisol levels, so a very hard exercise would only increase their cortisol and stress levels, preventing them from losing weight,” Mansour explains. “Some people’s metabolisms are sluggish, but they tend to eat more to lose weight. Weight loss ranges a lot from person to person.”
WHAT TO DO IF YOU’VE HIT A PLATEAU
Mansour goes on to say that we reach a plateau when our bodies get used to doing the same thing over and over. As a result, the body ceases to change, and the muscles are adjusted to the routine. This is where it’s possible to say that conventional long-distance running isn’t the right cardio choice for those who want to lose weight. This isn’t to say that running generally won’t suffice; you have to go about it in the right manner.
“Training plans, as well as run workouts,” says Hinshaw, “must provide several techniques to allow quality improvement.” “For example, once the body has accustomed to the stimuli, doing the same 30-minute treadmill exercise will ultimately have little benefit. It’s important to note that our bodies can respond to a training stimulus over time (as long as we eat well and have enough rest).”
If you’re running for weight loss, you can change your routines much as you would to train for different terrains and environments. If you’ve established a good fitness foundation, Mansour recommends adding intervals, uphill walking, strength-training bursts, and even high-intensity interval training (HIIT). Doing the same distance at the same pace every day won’t get you the long-term results you like, but speed practice and interval training will.
TWO WORKOUTS TO TRY
Runners can combine two styles of run routines, according to Hinshaw. As your cardiovascular health improves, the strength of these exercises will increase, but they will help you get the most out of your exercise.
- Run at a low pace (55–70% of maximum heart rate): At this pace, the body is more effective at burning fat. Moving at a low pace (as opposed to high intensity) burns about 20% more fat in a 30-minute exercise.
- Run at a heavy to fast speed (70–90% above maximum heart rate): This consumes more calories overall. Moving at a high pace (as opposed to low intensity) consumes about 30% more calories in a 30-minute session. However, these strenuous exercises cause an oxygen debt known as excess post-exercise oxygen intake, which results in a metabolic gain that lasts for hours after the workout.
When it comes to completing these races, Hinshaw emphasizes the value of post-workout nutrition. Carbohydrates should not be overlooked while trying to lose weight (often the first thing to be restricted during a diet). “After a race, in addition to nutrition, the muscles need 2–3 servings (40–50 grams) of carbohydrates to replenish glycogen reserves and aid recovery,” he concludes.
Long Distance Running has few words for you.
When I started running, it used to take me a few minutes to start sweating and feel energy bursts. The more distance I ran, it took me more time to start sweating and feel energy bursts. So, in my opinion, you need to switch your running duration frequently and replace it with speedy runs or sprints to get better results.