How-to Determine If You’re Getting the Proper Amount of Cardio

Almost everyone today wants to live a healthy lifestyle. For many people, this will mean eating a healthier diet and including some type of exercise program in their life. Many fitness enthusiasts will throw around the word “cardio” and talk about its importance for losing weight. If you are not sure what to do for cardio, or whether you are getting enough of it, there is a question you can ask yourself to help you.

What is your goal? This is a great question to ask yourself, because it can help determine the type of cardio you should be doing, as well as how much of it. If you are just looking to improve your general health and are not planning on competing or maximizing performance, then simple walking could be a good enough exercise for you. As this article in the Telegraph shows, there are great health benefits to simply walking, such as helping your heart, improving your mood and even cutting down the risk of dying from cancer. For general health, walking is hard to beat.

If, however, you are trying to maximize your performance, specifically in a sport context, only walking might not cut it. While in reality the cardio system is quite complex, it is helpful to break cardiovascular ability down into two ends of a spectrum. The low end of the spectrum is low to medium level of exertion for extended periods of time, which essentially translates to endurance. The opposite end is high intensity movement for short duration. Sprinting would be an example of this type of cardio. There is, of course, the rest of the spectrum in-between these two extremes. It is often beneficial to train at different levels. For example, jogging for several miles a week could be combined with sprinting once or twice a week, in addition to the actual sport training. If you are looking for different types of cardio workouts, check out Karen Asp’s article in WebMD.

While it is important to get the proper amount of cardio, it is also important to not get too much. Working yourself too hard with jogging or sprinting can easily result in burnout, especially if your body is not in good condition. Make sure to give your body plenty of rest while still pushing for adaptive changes. If you are completely new to exercise, start of by simply walking 10 minutes a day. Slowly build on this number until you can go 30 minutes or more. For most of us, getting proper cardio should be a gradual and steady process.

Getting proper cardio can have great health benefits associated with it. First, however, determine what your physical goals are, as this will determine how much cardio you should do. Make sure to slowly increase your workload to avoid burnout.

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