How Often Should I Do Cardio? Is It Necessary?

Cardio exercises are a fun way to get your heart rate up and burn calories since most of them don’t require the use of a machine. Also referred to as aerobic exercise, cardio is a physical exercise that forces your body to suck up more oxygen, which is used to generate energy. Examples of this type of workout include walking, cycling, swimming, jogging and running. As simple as these exercises may seem, you need not to overdo them since your body requires time to recover. 

Fitting Cardio in Your Workout Routine

A balanced workout routine should have cardio as part of the exercises to help boost the circulatory system. Fitting aerobics in your routine will improve your endurance and recovery. The good thing about cardio is that it gives you lots of options to suit your physiological and fitness needs. Unlike weightlifting, you won’t have to worry about repeating variations of a single exercise for a specified period of time. 

Heart rates are an important point of focus when planning cardio routines since they differ in people. It’s advisable to aim for a heart rate ranging from 120 to 150 bpm (beats per minute) for a period of 45 to 60 minutes. You can check the rate from a heart rate monitor worn on your sleeve when engaging in any form of cardio. If you have a heart condition or a history with heart problem, consider consulting with your personal doctor before doing aerobics. 

Functional movements such as kettlebell swings are a great way to keep your heart rate up since they stimulate several parts of your body. Besides incorporating them in your strength training sessions, you can fit them in your aerobics. The trick to getting your heart rate up is to do more reps of functional movements within a specified time. Emulating moves that ice skaters use or adding an ability ladder to your sessions can help you boost your agility. 

How Many Times Should You Do Cardio?

According to ACSM (the American College of Sports Medicine), about 150 minutes of moderate-to-intense activity every week are enough to promote cardiovascular health. Your routine will determine the ways you’ll split the 150 minutes to work in your favor. You may choose to do HIIT (high intensity interval training) for your cardio sessions if your goal is to intensely burn calories using machines such as a treadmill, a bike or an indoor rowing machine. Functional movements can also form part of your HIIT training as long as you spare time for active recovery in between the sessions. 

Are You Overdoing Cardio?

The drawbacks of aerobics include respiratory problems (if you have a history of lung problems) and overuse injuries (caused by repetitive, intense exercises). Cardio won’t be effective in building muscle mass if you overdo it since the accumulated muscle will gradually be lost in high impact exercises. You may also not experience fat loss especially if you’re doing aerobics the wrong way or you’re not sticking to a healthy meal plan. The frequency and duration of your aerobic workouts should exceed a certain minimum (at least twenty minutes a day twice or thrice a week) for you to fully derive both the performance benefits and health benefits. 

Final Thoughts

Your goal when doing aerobics is to maximize the breathing capacity of your lungs hence increasing their ability to take in more air in a short time. With more efficient lungs, your respiratory system will be more equipped to eliminate carbon dioxide as your heart functionality is improved. While you may be ambitious about gaining these benefits, you need to realize that your respiratory and cardiovascular systems have limitations. Your skeletal muscles also have limitations, which present themselves when you try to put pressure on them in the name of doing cardio. 

 

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