What are the positives of cardio exercises and what is the best cardio to lose weight fast? Also included are individual cardio exercises and guidelines to follow. Learn more now!
Why Cardio Training Is Important
- Weight loss
- Strengthen the muscles involved in respiration to assist lung function.
- Increased bone density
- Reduces stress
- Reduced risk of heart disease
- Natural relief from depression and anxiety and increase mental well-being
- Better Sleep
- Increases circulation throughout the body
- Strengthens the heart, which will improve your resting heart rate and pumping efficiency
- Better self-esteem
- Increases the total number of red blood cells, to enable greater oxygen flow throughout the body.
Where Does Cardio Fit Into Your Fitness Plan?
Aerobic activity requires fat to be used as an energy source and since protein and carbs are used at a smaller extent during cardio exercises, it is the best way to burn fat.
Aerobic exercises increase your maximum heart rate (MHR). When this happens oxygen, fats and carbohydrates combine to create adenosine triphosphate (ATP) the basic fuel source for your cells.
Since the body has larger fat stores and fat is more easily broken down into energy when oxygen is prevalent, especially compared to proteins and carbs. Your body will burn off more fat than anything else during aerobic exercises.
No matter what you want from your workout plan, cardio will need to be included.
Or if you’re trying to build muscle, cardio training will limit unwanted fat gains to give your muscles more definition. Just remember, if your building muscle you need to have a calorie surplus and too much cardio can put you into a calorie deficit, so be sure to track your caloric intake properly.
Now that you know you have to apply cardio training to your routine, what are the best aerobic exercise to do?
Different Cardio Exercises In Terms Of Intensity
High Intensity aerobic activity(70 to 85 % of MHR)
High Intensity cardio training: This level falls between 70 to 85% of your maximum heart rate (MHR). What this means is to exercise at an intensity that pushes you and leaves you to breathless to speak easy. In the beginning stages you will have to work up to this, or try beginner level interval training. People in more advanced levels can try high intensity interval training for more difficult workouts.
- Will burn more calories and in the long run more fat
- Your metabolic rate will increase during and after training more so than when doing lower intensity training.
- Higher improvement of endurance, strength and athleticism
Clues that you have reached a high level of intensity.
- Your breathing is deep and rapid.
- You develop a sweat after only a few minutes of activity.
- You can’t say more than a few words without pausing for breath
Moderate Intensity Aerobic Activity (60 to 70% of MHR)
Moderate Intensity Cardio training: This level falls between 60 to 70% of your MHR. Many studies show this to be the optimal range to be in since it will initiate the fat burning process and has the lowest percentage of injury risk.
- Great exercise for beginners
- You’re training for an endurance event or sport
- Your body feels more comfortable with a lower intensity workout, rather than a high intensity routine.
- You want to decrease injury risk and allow your body to recover.
- You want to burn calories without burning yourself out.
How to know you are at a moderate intensity level.
- Your breathing quickens but you’re not out of breath
- you develop a light sweat after 10 minutes of exercise.
- You can carry on a conversation but you can’t sing.
Examples Of High Intensity Cardio training.
Running (Burns About 600 Calories Per Hour)
The best thing about running is that you don’t need much equipment or know how. All you need is a quality pair of running shoes and your off on a heart pumping, calf sculpting and calorie burning workout.
You can run inside on a treadmill or outside along a scenic route. If you can include hills into your run you’ll burn even more calories.
Being a high intensity workout it is great for burning fat and since it utilizes the calves, thighs, hip flexors and gluteus maximus, it provides a great lower body workout. It also helps;
- Makes you happier.
- Helps you lose or maintain weight.
- Strengthens your knees and other joints and bones.
- Reduces your risk of heart disease and osteoporosis.
- Adds years to your life.
- Increases your metabolic rate up to 24 hrs.
Beginners running plan;
- Frequency: every other day.
- Intensity: 70 to 85% MHR.
- Duration: 25 to 35 minutes.
- Cool Down: 3 minutes, gradually dial it down to an easy walk.
Climbing Stairs (600 to 800 calories per hour)
Climbing stairs is definitely the most convenient form of exercise which reaps the best results. There is no equipment cost as well as space issues.
You don’t even have to learn this exercise as we have all practiced it during our childhood, and the best part is that it burns twice as many calories as walking.
- Climbing stairs helps you burn more calories every minute compared to walking or jogging.
- Helps our body produce endorphins which create a sense of happiness in our mind.
- Weight loss.
- Improves heart rate and blood flow throughout your body.
- Stronger joints and muscles.
- Frequency: Everyday other day.
- Intensity: 70 to 85% MHR.
- Duration: 45 minutes.
- Cool Down: A gradual walk for about ten minutes, also lower body stretches.
Jumping Rope (Burns about a 1000 calories an hour)
Believe it or not the simple act of jumping rope can do more for you overall than the same time spent jogging. It’s also easy to do anywhere.
A jump rope slipped in your backpack or purse can be brought along on a trip, work, school or done in the living room while watching your kids or tv.
Do yourself a favor though and go to your local sporting goods store and get a professional jump rope, not a lightweight plastic rope from a toy store.
- Improves coordination.
- Decreases foot and ankle injuries.
- Burns major calories
- Completely portable and fun
- Improves bone density
- A healthier cardiovascular system
- Improved breathing efficiency
Beginners should start out with 30 seconds of consecutive jumping or about 50 repetitions, perform three or four sets with rest periods between sets lasting 30 to 90 seconds.
Gradually increase the duration and intensity of your sets by working up to 60 to 90 seconds of jumping, or 100 to 150 repetitions, With rest periods lasting only 30 seconds between sets.
Do this 3 or 4 times a week on non consecutive days.
HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training)
High intensity interval training alternates between high intensity and low intensity exercises. For example, sprinting for 30 seconds then walking for 60 seconds is high intensity interval training.
HIIT is one of the most efficient ways to get in true peak physical shape.It’s exceptional at burning fat, building endurance, toning your body and improving your speed and strength.
You should try to incorporate HIIT workouts into your routine 1 to 3 times a week. What goal you’re trying to achieve, your fitness level, training intensity and how fast you recover will determine how often you perform certain activities.
HIIT cardio training is a fat burning powerhouse, the short intervals ask you to push yourself much harder than you would be able to if you were doing longer duration bouts of movement. Since it only lasts 20 seconds each time, you’re seeking out discomfort in the form of a pace that is not sustainable for much more than that short interval.
This unsustainable intense burst of energy output revs up the metabolism because the body does not instantly return to its normal rate expenditure. Instead, it slowly normalizes itself over the next hours and sometimes even days (depending on the intensity of the workout).
While it’s returning to normal, you get the benefit of burning calories at a higher rate than normal. Even while you’re just sitting around. It’s a great example of working smarter instead of harder.
Here are different examples of HIIT workouts.
10 Minute Treadmill HIIT Workout
- 2 min brisk walk (3.0 incline)
- 2 min jog (1.5 incline)
- 1 min run (1.5 incline)
- 2 min brisk walk (3.5 incline)
- 2 min jog (3.5 incline)
- 1 min uphill sprint (3.5 incline)
Total Body HIIT Workout
- 60s Jumping Jacks
- 30s Jump Squats
- 30s Push Ups
- 60s Mountain Climbers
- 30s Jump Lunges
- 30s Dips
- 60s Plank Jacks
- 30s Lateral Lunges With A Hop (Explosive)
- 30s Close Grip Push Ups
- 60s High Knees
- 30s Plio Jump Squats
- 60s Butt Kickers
- 30s Leg Raises
- DO TWICE
- 10 TO 15 SECONDS OF REST IN BETWEEN
20 Minute Beginner HIIT Workout
- 45s Push Ups
- 45s Squats
- 40s Butt Kicks
- 45s Tricep Dips
- 45s Side Lunges
- 15s rest in between exercises and 1 minute rest in between routines
- Do this routine 3 times in a row
Examples of Moderate Intensity Cardio Training.
Brisk Walking (100 calories per mile)
A brisk walking pace is 3.0 miles per hour or around 20 minutes a mile, which is about 5 kilometers per hour or 12 minutes per kilometer.
If you are already at a high fitness level you will probably have to walk at a pace of 4.0 mph (15 minutes per mile) to raise your heart rate enough.
Build up your time gradually, don’t worry about your speed. Your heart rate is what will determine if you’re pushing yourself hard enough.
Keep the posture. As you walk, your chin should be up, your eyes looking directly in front of you, your back straight, chest raised and shoulders relaxed.
Use your arms. Keep your arms at your sides, bent around 90 degrees and swing them front to back.
Take smaller strides. A lot of people think larger steps make you walk faster , this isn’t true. Smaller, quicker steps will make you move faster and also get your heart rate up faster.
Easy Jogging (around 400 calories an hour)
Jogging is an excellent way to stay or become fit, it decreases the risk of cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, obesity, hypertension, depression and anxiety. Jogging on a regular basis is unquestionably a great decision.
Tips for jogging
Pick the right running shoe. Shoes help reduce the shock to your bones and feet while jogging. Make sure your shoes are comfortable and fit properly. If needed talk to an orthopedic Dr if you need specially made footwear. Replace your shoes every 300 to 400 miles.
Make sure you warm up and cool down. When you workout, your muscles constantly contract and relax. Unless you prepare your muscles you will get muscle cramps which will prevent you from performing normally.
Learn the right upper body form. Many joggers slouch while they run, this will lead to posture and spine health issues. Whether you are running on a treadmill, road or trail make sure your chest is out, shoulders are rolled back.
Start slowly. Start off by walking first, after 30 seconds increase your pace. After 60 seconds you should be at a brisk walk, now start jogging at a slow pace. Doing this will prevent you from exhausting yourself and will lead to you running longer distances.
Aerobic Exercise Tips
In the beginning stages any new exercise program should be taken slowly, especially if one is overweight or in an untrained state. Walking is the perfect activity for the novice trainee since it is much less demanding and low impact.
Training too hard too soon might result in injury or burnout. It is also important to start out slowly at the beginning of a workout to warm up the muscles and lubricate the joints.
Stay Within Your Maximum Heart Range
The idea of the perfect fat burning zone has been debunked, it is still important to stay within a specified target heart range to ensure the body is working at the its full potential. You can determine the lower or higher limits of the target heart range and plan the session accordingly.
Try to work at the upper end of the spectrum to gain the maximum benefits, Working below the target range will limit your results and working beyond may lead to injury.
How Long Should Your Cardio Session Be?
After you decide what exercise you prefer, the next factor is how long to train for. In the beginning you should be focused on duration instead of intensity, overtime your endurance levels will increase and so will your exercise options.
Trainers suggest 20 to 60 minute cardio training sessions to be the safest and most efficient in burning fat and increasing endurance. You don’t want to start off with an hour long session on your first day.
That’s too much if you haven’t worked out in a long time or ever.
How Many days A Week Should You workout?
The short non-scientific answer is more than you think you should and probably more than you really want to. (just being honest)
Many factors play a role in your workout schedule, your fitness level, work schedule, goals, kids can all affect your routine. Here’s a simple breakdown for how frequently you should workout.
- For health. try moderately intense cardio training 30 minutes a day, five days a week or vigorous intense cardio 20 minutes a day 3 days a week. Or mix it up to a routine you feel comfortable with.
- To maintain your current weight you need about 20 to 35 minutes of moderate to vigorous aerobic exercise a day. Your goal here is to burn 1200 to 2000 calories a week.
- For weight loss your workout time increases to 200 to 300 minutes a week, or 40 to 60 minutes daily.