Good Cardio Workout: A Straight Forward What, Why, and How Article That Shows You How to Get Your Cardio in, Without Being in the Gym All Week Long
Good cardio workout … You know that you need to have cardio as a part of your exercising routine, right? But do you know why, how much, and how to get it? This article will answer those questions. A part of healthy exercising tips includes having a good cardio workout several times a week.
What is a good cardio workout? According to CDC.gov, a good cardio workout is any activity that keeps your heart rate between 50% to 70% of your maximum heartrate for a total of 150 minutes a week. Or any activity that keeps your heart rate above 70% of your maximum heartrate for at least 75 minutes a week. Or you can have a combination of the above like 75 minutes of moderate and 38 minutes of intense. This information, you can see how activities like walking, jogging/running, bike riding, swimming, elliptical machines, and calisthenics (e.g., jump and jacks, mountain climbers, etc.), can all be used in getting a good cardio workout.
Why should you make sure that you are getting enough cardio? According to bodybuilding.com, some of the benefits of getting enough cardio include the following:
1. Improved Heart Health. Your heart is a muscle just like any other and in order for it to become strong it must be worked. If you fail to work it, it will weaken over time and this can cause a variety of negative health effects.
2. Increased Metabolism. It helps to increases the rate of various processes in the body known as your metabolism. An increased metabolism means an easier time maintaining your weight (or losing weight as the case may be).
3. Improved Hormonal Profile. It releases ‘feel good’ hormones that will help ease symptoms of depression and fatigue as well as releasing hormones that decrease the appetite. There a number of people who do cardio for stress relief.
4. Improved Recovery Ability. If you have just performed a hard session in the gym, hopping on the treadmill for a walk or light jog will help to remove some of the by-products that were created during the lifting session. This will help to reduce your DOMS (delayed onset of muscle soreness) and help bring more oxygen rich blood to the muscle tissue improving in the repair and rebuilding process.
5. Management of Diabetes. By exercising you will increase your muscle’s ability to utilize glucose. Those who exercise regularly tend to have better control of their blood sugars and do not see as many blood sugar swings as those who don’t.
Tips for a Good Cardio Workout
1. Find Something That You Will Stay With. Some examples of cardio exercise are walking, jogging/running, bike riding, swimming, elliptical machines, and calisthenics (e.g., jump and jacks, mountain climbers, etc.). Even if you can get your heart rate up faster by swimming when compared to jogging, if you hate swimming then jogging will be better. I would recommend that you try something for three times a week for four weeks and compare it to something else and so forth, until you find your exercise or exercises.
2. Start Where You Are. It is better to do 10 minutes per workout and build your time up to 20 minutes and then 30 or 40 minutes and stay with it than to do a 40 minute workout today and be so sore the next day that you don’t want to exercise anymore. And on the other hand, if you can do a 20 minute workout then do it, instead of simply doing 10 minutes. When you cheat, you are only cheating yourself.
3. Aim to do at Least the CDC Basics. According to CDC.gov, adults should do at least 150 minutes a week of moderate intensity cardio (i.e., think about brisk walking; 50-70% of maximum heart rate), 75 minutes a week of vigorous intensity cardio (i.e., think about jogging; 70-85% of maximum heart rate), or a combination of the two. Each workout should be at least 10 minutes in duration and make sure there is at least a two minute warm up and two minute cool down. Of course a longer workout will call for more of a cool down.
To determine your 50-70% of maximum heart rate, you can use this formula – max = 220 – age. So a 45 year old’s maximum heart rate would be 175 (220-45) beats per minutes, and the 50-70% range would be 87.5 (175 x .5) – 122.5 (175 x .7) bpm. The 85% figure would be 148.8 (175 x .85) bpm.
4. Consider Experimenting With HIIT. According to precor.com, unless you are training for a long distance run, adding more intensity is better than adding more time to your weekly cardio workouts. A way to add intensity with adding more time to your workout, is to add high intensity interval training (HIIT). Some even say that you can do HIIT for about 20 minutes a workout for three to five workouts a week and be finished.
You may want to start with a 3:1 rest to high intensity period but aim for a 2:1 ratio. During your rest period, you want your heart rate to be around 60-65% of your maximum heart rate. During your high intensity, you want your heart rate to be around 80% of your maximum heart rate. So in my case, I jog for two minutes and do a ¾ sprint for one minute. That is one round. After a two minute warm up, seven rounds, and a three minute cool down, I have a great cardio workout in 26 minutes.
Especially, if get bored easily or don’t have much time, I would suggest that you try doing three HIIT workouts a week for three weeks and see how you like it. You may do a combination of traditional – longer period of moderate intensity and HIIT.
So there you have it – the what, why, and how of a good cardio workout. However, knowing and doing are two different things. Make sure you get your cardio in.
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The following are resources that I consulted in writing this article and I recommend to you for further research: