Are you spending hours at the gym on the elliptical machine to get your cardio component in? Many people dislike high-intensity workouts and prefer to focus on strength training instead. Misconceptions regarding several topics continue to persist in the fitness community. For example, you can build abs by solely doing ab workouts, women bulk up from strength training, and so on. These are only a few examples. So, does cardio help in weight loss? Or is this just another fitness-related misstatement?
Continue reading to learn more.
What Is Cardio?
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Any rhythmic action that pushes your heart rate into your desired heart rate zone is known as cardio exercise or aerobic exercise. This is the area of the body that burns the most fat and calories.
Some of the most common cardiovascular exercises include walking, cycling, and swimming. Household activities like vacuuming and mopping also count as cardio exercise.
Cardio differs from other forms of exercise, such as weight training, in that it depends on your body's ability to use oxygen during the activity. The cardiac ability or capacity of a person might vary depending on a number of things such as weight, diet, daily exercise level, and age.
Aerobic activity can be low-intensity exercise, moderate-intensity exercise, or high-intensity exercise. Cardio or aerobic activity can be divided into several categories:
Steady-State Cardio Workouts
When you do sports like cycling, running, or taking an aerobics class and keep your heart rate in a stable range throughout the duration of your workout, you are doing steady-state cardio. Steady-state cardio is usually (but not always) done at a moderate intensity.
HIIT (high-intensity interval training) is a type of exercise that combines high-intensity aerobic activity with short intervals of rest. These workouts are often shorter in duration than steady-state cardio workouts since they require you to perform at a very high-intensity level.
Benefits of Cardio
1) It Makes Your Heart Beat Faster
Cardio exercise on a regular basis can help your heart health by lowering cholesterol and lowering your risk of heart disease. How? Cardio exercise pushes your heart in the same way that a biceps curl challenges your arm muscles. This improves the flow of blood throughout your body and strengthens your heart.
Since cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death worldwide, most people may benefit from doing a bit extra cardio.
2) Weight Loss and Improved Skin
Being active, regardless of how you move, helps to enhance circulation, which leads to smoother, healthier skin. Other health benefits can extend far beyond your skin, as well.
When you work your muscles, you increase the amount of oxygen available to them, allowing them to work harder. When combined with a healthy diet, cardio leads to safe weight loss.
3) It Helps You Sleep Better
It's probably no surprise that tuckering yourself out on the treadmill before bedtime can make you extra tired. According to numerous studies, even a small amount of activity can help you sleep better.
While older folks may benefit the most, a study suggests that with a little extra cardio, everyone will enjoy a more comfortable good night's rest.
4) Reduces Chronic Pain
If you have persistent back pain, cardiovascular exercise, especially low-impact activities like swimming or aqua aerobics, may help you rebuild muscle function and endurance. Exercise can also aid weight loss, which can help to alleviate chronic back discomfort.
5) Boosts Your Mood
Our emotions change throughout the day, but being active might help you feel better, especially after a stressful day. So the next time you're anxious or having a bad day, stand up and move your body.
6) Stronger Immune System
Do you want to beat flu season? You've come to the right place. The immune system benefits from regular activity (such as cardio).
Cardio helps to maintain the health of your blood cells and cytokines (a type of protein). Both of these elements are essential for immune system control.
Is Cardio Required for Weight Loss?
Credit: Men’s Journal
No, cardio is not required to lose weight. A calorie deficit, which can be achieved by reducing your calorie intake, increasing the number of calories burned, or both, is the most common way to lose weight and lose fat. Cardio will help you burn calories faster, increasing your fat reduction potential.
Variables That Influence the Rate at Which You Burn Calories
Before you begin a weight-loss journey involving cardiac exercise, you should be aware that some elements influence how rapidly you burn calories and, as a result, how quickly you lose weight.
Age. You might anticipate burning fewer calories as you get older.
Body Composition. You'll burn more calories during activity if you have more muscle mass than if you have a higher percentage of fat.
Workout Intensity. The higher the intensity of your workout, the more calories you'll burn in a single session.
Gender. Women burn fewer calories than men.
Daily Activity. The less active you are during the day, the fewer calories you burn.
Weight. If you weigh more, you will burn more calories.
How to Achieve the Best Outcomes
1) Cardio+Strength Training
Combine resistance training with cardio and work on increasing the intensity every couple of weeks. Cardio burns more calories during your workout, however, strength or resistance training helps you gain muscle and burn more calories all day long. A combination of cardio and weight training is the ideal fitness regimen for long-term fat loss. A certified personal trainer can help assist you in achieving your goals.
2) Don’t Forget To Take Time To Rest
On the days following a strenuous workout, take time off for total rest or active recovery. Your muscles regenerate and get stronger throughout the recovery phase. Rest intervals also provide a much-needed break from the activity for your body and mind.
3) Choose an Activity That You Enjoy
If you enjoy the activities you've chosen, you're more likely to stay motivated. If cardio is not for you, try yoga or strength training, or running. Experiment with different types of workouts.
4) Make Sure You’re Properly Fueling Your Body
Your diet will be critical to supporting you reach your weight-loss goal. Make sure you're eating enough calories and receiving enough protein, carbohydrates, and healthy fats. A trained dietician can assist you in creating a customized nutrition plan.
How Much Cardio Is Required To Burn Fat?
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For a significant change, it is advised that you obtain at least 150 to 300 minutes of moderate-intensity cardio every week. This can include a quick stroll that makes you a little sweaty.
To acquire some cardio, you could do a 30-minute brisk walk 5 days a week at the very least. However, depending on your body, you may need to walk for longer or try something more strenuous to achieve a higher calorie burn.
Losing weight is a journey. Whether you choose to do cardio or strength training, the key is to get moving to lose body fat. Every person's weight loss path is distinct. It's likely that what works for another person will not work for you. So don't give up if you're working out but not seeing results. Start with your fitness program and work your way up, and you'll be on your way to a happier and fitter you.