Here are three basic truths about cardio exercise:
- Your body type and your objective for keeping fit will determine the type, frequency and length of your cardio.1.
- Find cardio that you like, and do it when you consider you have the most energy.
- The less time it takes to burn the same amount of calories, the more calories you will expend later that day.
Just how important is cardio? If you never, ever engage in "recreational eating," you're likely to keep a year round low body fat level that gives you the luxury to leave out cardio. For the rest of us who splurge a bit when it comes to nutrition, cardiovascular exercise provides a great method of burning excess calories. In 1978 the American College of Sports Medicine published a report recommending that cardio should be done at least three times a week.
Cardiovascular and endurance exercise works the slow twitch fibers of the body – the ones that use oxygen as they burn fuel, unlike power training. It should be done after power training, rather than before, so muscle fatigue doesn't get in the way of ability to do strength exercises and the neuromuscular dexterity needed for coordination exercises. Doing cardio/endurance training directly after power training helps to develop stamina – the body's capacity to deal with lactic acid and the other metabolic side effects of concentrated muscular exertion.
Another approach is to do cardio one day and weight lifting on the other. The disadvantage is that spending your full workout on either one or the other does not allow enough time for your body to recover between workouts, possibly leading to over-training. If you are training for endurance or performance skills like biking, hiking, marathons etc., you can start with the cardio and do weight lifting in your spare time.
One of the most useful, convenient and time-efficient forms of cardio is jogging. All you require is a high-quality pair of running shoes and the vast outdoors. Ask your doctor if running is the right activity for you if you'd like to start this form of exercise, and follow these tips from the American Council on Exercise:
- Avoid bouncing, and keep your head level.
- Keep your shoulders down and relaxed.
- Hit the ground with your heel first, and then roll to the ball of your foot, pushing off from your toes.
- Take time to warm up and cool down before and after a run.
- Don't increase your total distance more than 10% per week.
- If anything hurts, take time off until it feels better.
The key to sticking to an exercise schedule is taking pleasure in the exercise itself. It's best to stick to the basic machines that will permit you to achieve that heightened state of cardiovascular output in a natural way, which your body prefers. The purpose of cardio machines is to ultimately help you keep your cardiovascular system healthy. This can also be achieved without machines, by activities such as running, walking, jogging, swimming, playing sports, etc.
Cardio For Women
Women fall into six body frame shapes, each with its own cardio program.
- The A-Frame. These women carry weight in the lower section of the body, mostly in the hips, thighs and buttocks, while their waists and busts are small. To get rid of the surplus weight in the lower section, this body type should zone in on lower body cardio such as walking, cycling, or use of the elliptical machine.
- The V-Frame. These ladies have wide shoulders, large bust, narrow hips and thin legs. The stepper is a good form of cardio to burn calories and add thickness to the legs.
- The H-Frame. Women with this frame have an athletic build, but with a large waist and shoulders, and a lack of symmetry. Cardio selections should be focused on trimming the upper body and bringing out the symmetry.
- The Ruler. This body shape's dimensions of the chest, waist and hips are somewhat equal. These women should concentrate on resistance training, and cardio should be kept to a minimum, preferably the stepper.
- The 8-Frame. Also known as the hourglass, owners of this body type are genetically gifted. Any cardio method is fine, and keeping a variety is best.
- The Oval Frame. Also known as the apple, oval-framed women are average height or shorter, large busted, with thin legs, and they gain weight in the midsection. Routine cardio, such as the treadmill on an incline or stepper, are essential to produce general weight loss.
Cardio is catabolic and so you need to make sure that you don't do too much or do it at the wrong time. Cardio may best be done first thing in the morning when glycogen levels in your body are at their lowest. Your cardio exercises should vary. Once you have been cutting for some time and you wish to up the cardio then you can start to do it twice a day, i.e. early mornings and after weights, but you should still try to have at least one rest day per week and try to remember good nutrition.
If you're ever tempted to overdo cardio, remember that the whole point of adding an extra 250-500 calories to your diet is to permit additional nutrients and energy to sustain the development of new muscle tissue. You'll only be burning off the extra calories you need for growth if you keep on doing cardio every day for extended periods. Never completely stop doing cardio – 20-30 minutes 3-4 times per week is part of a healthy lifestyle.