Doing cardio training is necessary to obtain a healthy body; it increases your endurance, lowers your blood pressure, helps you burn fat, increases your metabolism, and prevents heart diseases. The heart is a muscle and requires exercise on a regular basis.
Let’s take a look at Steady State cardio and HIIT; also presenting the pros and cons of each:
STEADY STATE CARDIO
Steady state cardio is an aerobic exercise that you perform at 60%-70% of your maximum capacity for 30 minutes or more. The speed remains the same during the whole exercise. Here are some exercises you can do as a steady state cardio:
The Pros Of Steady State Cardio
- Improves cardiovascular health.
- Faster recovery time.
- May be more appropriate for those just beginning to exercise or for people who are overweight and don’t yet have the stamina needed to perform HIIT.
- Can be done on a daily basis. HIIT should only be performed 2 – 3 times a week maximum, without placing the same amount of stress on your central nervous system and joints,
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The Cons Of Steady State Cardio
- May be boring as you are maintaining the same pace without any variation for long periods of time.
- Too much steady state cardio, especially at higher intensities, can lead to overworking the muscles which can result to muscle loss.
- It can be tough to burn enough calories to make a significant change to your weight loss at a low/medium intensity (30 minutes on the treadmill at a moderate intensity, you might only burn 200-300 calories).
- When you stop exercising you stop burning calories. Unlike, HIIT, where you can continue to burn calories up to 24 – 48 hours after you exercise.
- Can increase your appetite.
High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)
HIIT workouts are a bit different. This is any form of cardio activity that alternates periods of higher intensity with periods of lower intensity. You perform an exercise at your maximum capacity for a short period of time: 30 – 60 seconds. Then you do the exercise at a lower intensity for 1 – 2 minutes. You repeat this cycle for 15 – 20 minutes. Here are some examples of HIIT exercises:
- Treadmill Program
- Bike program
- Battle Ropes
- Mountain Climbers
- Jumping Jacks
Do a 5 minute dynamic warm-up before you begin to warm-up the muscles and get blood flowing. Do 5 minute cool-down after you complete your HIIT training along with some static stretching.
The Pros Of High Intensity Interval Training
- Can lose weight quicker as it burns more calories in a shorter period of time. You continue to burn calories up to 24 – 48 hours after you do HIIT.
- Can build lean muscle.
- Can improve the body’s ability to use fat for fuel compared to steady state cardio (can help with stubborn fat loss).
- More time efficient, since effective HIIT sessions can be done in just 15-20 minutes.
- Can decrease your appetite.
The Cons Of High Intensity Interval Training
- Can be difficult for people who are just beginning to exercise or people who are too overweight as the high intensity period can be too taxing on the body.
- Can lead to more injuries
- HIIT should only be performed 2 – 3 times a week maximum, as it can be too stressing on your central nervous system and joints,
- It’s tough You have to push yourself during the high intensity periods otherwise you won’t get the benefit (you’ll need to feel the burn – which is a good thing).
No matter what cardio exercise you are doing, ensure you do a dynamic warm up for 5 minutes before you begin to warm up the muscles and get blood flowing. Do 5 minute cool-down after you complete your cardio training along with some static stretching.
HIIT is not for everyone, but everyone should be doing some sort of cardio. You need to access and determine your fitness goals; as everyone has different goals.
Research has proven over and over that walking is one of the most successful exercise methods for overweight men and women. However, walking will get you lean and build muscle. HIIT gets the job done fast and causes you to burn calories even after you have stopped exercising, but that doesn’t mean low intensity cardio is useless or that you shouldn’t do it. Remember… always look at what your goal is and what you need to do to accomplish that goal.
Tremblay, Angelo, et al. Impact of exercise intensity on body fatness and skeletal muscle metabolism. Metabolism. Vol 43. no 7 (July). Pp 814-818. 1994..