There is a trend in the fitness world right now that borders on obsessive. It’s called ‘cardio training’ and it’s focused around getting your heart rate up during your workout. The idea is that this will improve your bodily well-being and boost your metabolism, all while shedding those extra pounds.
So, should you only do cardio to lose weight? Let’s examine the evidence and find out.
The ‘Metabolic Enrichment’ Theory
This trend was largely inspired by research conducted at the University of Sydney. You can read about the research HERE. The basic concept is that exercise is good for you and can cause several positive changes in your body. One of the primary areas it affects is your metabolism. More specifically, the research found that high intensity interval training (HIT) improved subjects’ resting energy expenditure and metabolism by a significant amount. HIT is a form of cardio where you push your body to its limits for very short periods of time, usually between 20-40 seconds. During this time, you either climb a hill or go at a fast pace around a circuit. The idea is that this type of workout increases your metabolism and allows you to burn calories more efficiently at rest.
Increasing Your Metabolism
So, if you’re looking to shed some pounds, you should definitely consider doing some cardio training. There’s a wealth of evidence that points to cardio as the best and most efficient way to do this. But, if this is your first time ever working out, how should you go about doing it? Should you do aerobic exercises or should you opt for an anaerobic exercise? What if you’re already doing a bit of both?
Well, according to the research, you should do a combination of the two. The reason behind this is that while cardio is great for raising your metabolism, it doesn’t necessarily mean your muscles need to be working. It simply means your heart is going much faster than normal, which helps your body burn calories more efficiently. Anaerobic exercises, on the other hand, are more of a muscle workout and they can help you build stronger muscles, which in turn helps you burn more calories even when at rest. So, if you want to lose weight, you should try and mix up your routine, as often as possible, to include some anaerobic exercises as part of your daily activities.
How Long Should I Exercise For?
So, you’ve decided that you want to try out this new fad called ‘cardio’, but you’re not sure exactly what it entails. Should you do it daily, for an hour or should you do it once or twice a week? The research suggests that it really doesn’t matter how long you exercise for as long as you keep doing it. But, it’s important to keep in mind that the more time you spend working out, the more you’ll see benefits. Just keep moving and you’ll start noticing changes for the better. It’s like adding more vegetables to your diet, but in a different way. One thing is for sure – the more you put in it, the more you’ll get out of it.
What Kind of Equipment Should I Use?
Now that you’re committed to doing your cardio, you want to make sure that you do it the right way. The first and most essential piece of equipment is a good pair of trainers. These will help you keep track of your workouts and they’ll make sure that your form is correct throughout the entire duration of the workout. Without them, all the physical effort you put in could be for nothing.
Next up is a jogging stroller. This will allow you to enjoy your walks with your baby in tow. It takes the stress out of strolling with a newborn, while also keeping them amused and engaged. Most strollers have a pouch where you can store small objects such as keys, ID cards, or even a mobile phone. If you’re running less than a mile, you don’t need a stroller. But, if you plan to hit the road for a longer jog, then it’s best to bring one along. It will make the walk more comfortable and it prevents you from having to stop frequently to let your little one growl at the sight of a squirrel or bird. As a parent, this kind of activity is exhausting and it can also be dangerous. You never know what could happen on a sunny afternoon.
What Should I Eat Prior To And After Working Out?
If you want to see real changes in your body, you need to change your body. That means getting rid of the bad stuff that you don’t need and bringing in the good. One of the best ways to do this is by changing what you eat. The research agrees, stating that the best way to lose weight is by changing what you eat and also increasing your activity level. If this sounds like a tall order, don’t worry – it’s not. Just keep in mind that the results of your efforts will only show after some time has passed.
What About Weightlifting And Other Gymnastics?
Along with running and biking, weightlifting and other types of gymnastics, such as jumping jacks and push-ups, are all types of cardiovascular exercises. While these are great for strengthening your muscles and raising your heart rate, they don’t really contribute to ‘burning’ calories. It’s best to treat these types of exercises as an alternative to running, biking and swimming. Instead of putting in the hours at the gym, try and do these exercises outdoors, in the fresh air. Not only will it make your body more active, but it will also help give your mind a change of scene and put you in a better mood. Just keep in mind that these types of exercises can cause injury if not done correctly. Make sure you work with a professional trainer, if you decide to try this out.