Cardio exercise refers to endurance exercise. Your heart rate and breathing rate are specifically increased by the exertion in order to improve your endurance in the long term. The most common cardio machines are treadmills, bikes or cross trainers, but a lot of people shudder at the sight of them. Losing weight with cardio workouts doesn't have to be boring and monotonous. We’ll give you five reasons why you should start endurance training today.
1. Cardio exercise is one of the most effective ways to lose weight
Cardio workouts are great for people of all ages who want to get fitter, improve their endurance, or lose weight. With the high level of exertion that various endurance and training methods demand, you can burn a lot of fat and calories in a very short time and quickly see your first results. Endurance training not only helps you lose weight and improve your fitness but also has a positive effect on your heart health, lung activity and circulatory system. According to the National Institute of Health (NIH), cardio exercise can help delay or even prevent diseases such as diabetes, colon cancer and heart disease.
Even though your first endurance workouts will push you to your limits, you will quickly achieve success and be able to recover faster. Regular exercise and weight loss will also strengthen your immune system. This is because regular endurance training at a moderate intensity strengthens your immune cells, meaning you will be better equipped to fight bacteria and viruses. However, exercising too intensively can have the opposite effect and weaken your immune system. Therefore, always be careful not to overexert yourself on a regular basis.
2. You can burn fat whenever you want
Cardio exercise has advantages and disadvantages, depending on the time of day. It is usually recommended to exercise in the morning, before breakfast. This allows you to start the day with extra energy and boosts your ability to burn fat when you're on an empty stomach.
However, it is possible that your circulation might be overwhelmed by fat burning exercises on an empty stomach or that your body might feel too weak to perform at your desired level.
So, if you need something in your stomach to perform at full capacity, a midday or evening workout is better for you. A short cardio session can clear your head, give you energy for the rest of the day, and can help you stay calm and focused at work.
After a hard day at work, endurance exercise in the evening is a great activity to relieve stress. Really tiring yourself out can also help you fall asleep more easily; after a soothing shower, you can fall into bed exhausted and practically lose weight in your sleep.
3. You can follow your own cardio workout path
A short but effective warm-up in preparation for the workout moderately raises your body temperature and pulse and stimulates your blood circulation. This allows more oxygen and important nutrients to reach your muscles before you even start your cardio workout. A short workout preparation makes the exercise session more effective, which helps you burn fat more efficiently.<
If you start without a warm up, your performance can be compromised, you'll need longer to find your rhythm, and your muscles and circulation will work less efficiently. Failing to warm up before a cardio workout can also be dangerous, as you could risk a strain or worse.
How long the ensuing exercise lasts depends on its intensity. This is measured by your heart rate. You can achieve just as much with an intense workout as you can with a light workout in less time. On average, 45-60 minutes of low-intensity exercise is worthwhile, as is 30-45 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise or 20-30 minutes of high-intensity exercise.
Remember, though, that just because the quick option sounds tempting doesn't mean it's good for everyone. Listen to your body. Endurance exercise should not cause dizziness, pain, or pressure in your chest. This indicates that your body is being overworked. Especially as a beginner, you should start easy – for example, with a steady method (e.g. LISS cardio), which also allows you to exercise at a low intensity for longer periods of time – and then, you can increase your intensity.
After a successful workout, you will have gotten your heart rate up to speed, warmed up your muscles, and become energized. In order for your body to realize that the stress phase is over, you need to do a proper cooldown. It helps you to stabilize your cardiovascular system again and signals your body that the stress phase is over.
Now, you don't have to and indeed shouldn't unpack your gym shoes every day. Breaks to regenerate your muscles are at least as important as the workouts themselves. Ideally, you should aim to work out to to three times a week to do something good for your body in the long term. As a beginner, this will help you get used to the workout and build up a routine that will challenge you without overwhelming you.
If you don't take enough breaks between workouts, you're depriving your body of time to recover. In the long run, this not only means that your performance will stagnate or even decrease, it also increases your risk of injury. However, ideally, you can use the workout-free days to take care of yourself and your nutrition.
4. Dieting and exercise go hand in hand when losing weight
Since endurance training per se already burns a lot of calories, you can significantly advance your weight loss progress with the right nutrition – more energy and concentration included. For successful weight loss, you need a calorie deficit. If the number of calories you consume after your workout is the same or greater than the number you burned during it, it will be difficult for you to see results, and you will lose out on any weight loss effect from your workout. We have already talked about the "empty stomach" issue before a workout. Since every body works differently, you need to test for yourself if your body and circulation can handle not eating anything before a workout. In the event that you need something in your stomach, stick to shakes and smoothies that contain carbohydrates and protein but, at the same time, are low in fiber and therefore easy to digest, so you don't get a stomach ache during your workout.
Either way, after a workout, you should replenish your glucose stores, the location in your cells where carbohydrates are stored in the form of glycogen. Complex carbohydrates, such as those found in wholegrain products, and proteins are particularly recommended for this purpose. With your hunger satisfied, your body can fuel itself with food and still focus on regeneration. If you were to eat simple carbohydrates, and especially fatty foods, it would be too busy regulating your gastrointestinal tract and you would lose weight more slowly. You should allow 45-60 minutes between exercising and eating to give your body more time to burn fat.
Music during exercise is great for your motivation. Moving to your favorite song will immediately put you in a better mood and, in the best case, the melody will drive you forward. This makes it easier to keep up with your cardio workouts.
It can help you even more with your exercise:
Try to make sure that your steps per minute match the "beats per minute" (BPM) of your music. For example, 120 BPM is suitable for normal walking speed, 130-140 is good for jogging. This gives you a rhythm to follow. With an "I can get through that one song" attitude, you can slowly increase to playing two songs – and then more. To avoid boredom and to prevent your body from falling into a state of monotony, it is recommended to change the music every few weeks.
Another plus point: by moving around when you dance, you'll burn a few extra calories.