Cardiovascular exercise is one of the best and most proven ways to lose weight. While fad diets, new exercise programs, and innovative home gym equipment comes out every year, theres no avoiding the fact that you need to be physically active if you want to shed pounds. At the same time, there are more and less effective ways to do cardio. Lets look at how cardio exercise burns fat and helps you lose weight and how to get the most out of this process.
The Formula For Weight Loss
When it comes down to it, losing weight is about numbers. You must burn off more calories than youre consuming. The way you eat is obviously important in this regard. However, you also need physical activity. Cardio is beneficial because it speeds up your metabolism as you burn fat.
There are, however, vast differences in the way you burn fat with cardio exercises. For example, power walking is a popular form of exercise thats not too hard on your joints. The problem is that walking is a rather slow way to burn calories. The average 30 minute walk only burns up around 100 calories. So, realistically, youd have to walk for a couple of hours every day to burn enough calories to lose weight. Jogging, running or riding a bike burns up more calories, depending on how fast you go. Its a good idea to use some type of technology to keep track of your calories. A wearable device helps you track metrics such as heart rate, distance covered and calories burned.
The Benefit of High Intensity Interval Training
HIIT or high intensity interval training involves alternating between very strenuous effort using exercise equipment and periods of recovery. Research shows that this is one of the best ways to increase your metabolism and burn fat. Another benefit of HIIT is that a 20 minute session gives you similar benefits to a full hour doing a less intense routine. HIIT can be incorporated into any cardio workout, whether youre jogging in the park, riding your bicycle or using a cardio machine at the gym.
Combine Cardio With Strength Building
To get the best results from your exercise routine, combine cardio with strength training. When you join a gym, youre typically advised to use both cardio and strength building machines. Weight lifting or other types of strength training are helpful for increasing your metabolism and building muscle.
Even if you dont want to get strong and muscular, you can benefit by doing strength training. Cardio and strength training complement one another and help you lose weight and get fitter. Your emphasis will vary depending on your goals. A bodybuilder, for example, will mainly focus on building muscle while someone who mainly wants to lose weight will do more cardio and less intense strength building.
Types of Cardiovascular Exercise
Any workout that increases your heart rate is, to some extent, aerobic and a form of cardio. This includes many exercises you can do at home, at the gym or outdoors. Walking, jogging, biking, swimming, rowing, jumping rope and running up and down stairs are just a few examples.
Its best to do a form of exercise that you enjoy or at least find tolerable. Some people find that working out in a class is more fun. Spin classes, power yoga and dance workouts are some of your choices. Since your goal is to burn fat rather than remain loyal to one type of exercise, theres nothing wrong with changing up your routine every so often. In fact, there are several benefits to changing your routine. It prevents boredom from setting in and prevents your body from getting too accustomed to any one workout.
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