The guidelines published by the American College of Sports Medicine suggest 30 minutes of moderate intensity exercise 5 days a week or vigorous cardio 20 minutes a day, 3 days a week. For weight loss, you might need even more (up to 60-90 minutes) depending on your diet and other activities. It’s tough keeping all these rules straight and, the good news is that you don’t have to. Sometimes it’s best to forget the rules and get back to basics: Cardio isn’t just for weight loss.
If you have a sedentary job, think about how your body feels at end of the day. Do you have tight muscles, an aching back, or feel exhausted even though you haven’t done anything physical? Maybe your shoulders burn from tension and your head hurts from staring at a computer screen for too long. Now, think about how your body feels after a workout.
Your muscles are warm and flexible; the blood is pumping through your body, providing oxygen and energy. You feel energized, confident, proud of yourself and ready to take on the world. It’s much different, isn’t it? Our bodies are made to move, not sit around all day and yet, that’s exactly what we’re doing.
The recommend to work out for 30-60 minutes most days of the week, but don’t feel like you have to start at that level if you’re not ready.
Use your pulse as a monitor to maximize the effect of your workout with the minimum input. Using a wrist monitor that displays your pulse rate makes this easier. Calculate your cardiac training range (CTR) by Firstly getting your maximum cardiac rate (MTR), something that you should not exceed during any form of exercise. To do this subtract your age from 220. Your Cardiac training range is between 70 and 85 per cent of your maximum training range. For example, if you are 40 years of age the MTR is 180 (220 minus 40), your CTR is 126 to 153 (70 to 85 per cent of 180).
- Split your workouts into smaller workouts throughout the day.
- Take a few minutes here and there for some stair-climbing or speed walking.
- Do all those things you know you should be doing: take the stairs, walk more, stop driving around looking for that front row parking space, etc.
- Make the time. People who work out don’t have more time than people who don’t. They’ve just practiced making exercise a priority. Scheduling your workouts and treating them like any other appointment you wouldn’t miss may help you stick to your program.
- Do something…anything. If you think 5 minutes isn’t enough time to work out, you couldn’t be more wrong. Whether it’s 5 minutes, 10 minutes or 60 minutes, every single minute counts.
Keep in mind that doing too much cardio is a no-no as well and can actually backfire. There is a point of diminishing returns, so keep it reasonable (3-6 days a week, depending on your fitness level), vary your intensity and don’t forget to take rest days when needed. To learn what are the best muscle building supplements to use during cardio work outs, check out our natural enhancement line.