What is "good cardio"? Thats of the most frequent questions I get asked. People are always asking if some specific machine or activity is good cardio or not. Before we go into what IS good cardio, lets review WHY cardio is so important
•#1 lose fat! - want 6-pack abs? Only way is to lose fat thru cardio and nutrition.
•#2 Cardio can improve your mood and significantly reduce depression. Its been prooven by study after study, cardio can make you happier!
•#3 Perform better at school or work! Daily cardio reduces mental fatigue and gives you more energy. A recent study from the U of G showed that daily cardio reduces fatigue by 65%!
•#4 Tons of other health reasons -
oreduce risk of heart disease
oreduce blood pressure
oreduce risk of diabetes
olive longer - 2hrs longer for every 1hr of exercise
You've heard me say this before and I will repeat it again - cardio is much more important than lifting weights and if you only have 20min a day for fitness, you should spend the whole time doing cardio.
Its clear that there is a lot of confusion about cardio, its really quite simple. In this video I'm going to tell you how to know what is good cardio and how to tell at a glance if a piece of cardio equipment is good or not. Lets start with the basics. The purpose of cardio is to elevate your heart rate and keep it target zone for at least 20 minutes. How elevated does your heart rate need to be? Depends on your goal, your age, and your health. If you have medical conditions, ask your doctor what is appropriate for you. If you are in good health, you can use these charts from the American Heart Association:
So if you are wondering if a particular activity is good cardio, its simple to find out. Do it for a minimum of 20 minutes then measure your heartrate (15sx4) and compare it to the above chart. If your heartrate is in the target zone, then its good cardio - simple as that! With many forms of cardio, like cycling or walking, its easy to get lazy and just lolli-gag along. Its important that you monitor your heartrate during the cardio to make sure that you are not slacking off. Just a note, walking has the lowest dropout rate of all forms of cardio - probably because its so enjoyable.
OK, now lets talk about cardio equipment. I get lots of questions asking if a particular kind of cardio equipment is good. First of all, I dont recommend buying ANY equipment. I'd much rather see you get exercise outdoors by cycling, jogging, or playing soccer, its cheaper and more enjoyable. If you have to workout in your home, I would recommend a cheap jumprope. Having said that, if you are determined to spend money on equipment for indoor use, here is how you can tell if a piece of equipment is good. First of all, good cardio equipment is very expensive and typically costs over a thousand dollars and has three main characteristics
•If the equipment elevates your heart rate into the target zone, then its good cardio - simple as that.
•adjustable speed, very impt
•sturdy = heavy, never seeen anything sturdy under 50lbs most well over a hundred
•sufficient adjustable resistance
OK, some common questions I get about cardio. Many people seem to be looking for shortcuts to cardio. What if I sprint, can I just do 1 mile? NO! You must do your cardio a MINIMUM of 20min, preferably 40-60min. What if I do interval training, can I just do 15min - NO! You must do your cardio a MINIMUM of 20min, preferably 40-60min. I get questions about interval training all the time so lets talk about that a moment. Interval training is alternating bursts of speed followed by short rests, for example in running you might sprint for 60s and walk for 30s. Studies have shown that exercising in this fashion can burn off more calories than steady cardio. If you want to do interval training:
1.you still need to do it for a min of 20min daily
2.dont rest so long that your heartrate drops below the target heart rate zone (purple)
3.Be mindful of injuries, make sure to stretch - you are much more likely to get injured sprinting than
Wow, I'm really groggy myself. Time for me to do cardio before I fall asleep.
Nutrition is losing fat and getting 6-pack abs! I cover nutrition on my website, if thats not detailed enough for you I have reviewed and recommended some excellent books:
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Limitation of Liability: Consult with your doctor before starting any exercise program! I am not a medical professional. It is your responsibility to critically evaluate this information and with the help of your physician decide if it is appropriate for you.
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