This week, I will be discussing the need for Cardio. What Cardio can not do is make up for a bad diet. There is a saying “you cannot out run the fork”. Overeating tonight and assuming it can get washed away by an extended cardio session in the morning isn’t effective for long term weight maintenance. It reinforces an imbalance in our day to day eating and using cardiovascular exercise in a punitive way towards our body is a slippery slope with disordered eating.
As an avid exerciser, I have made a conscious decision to work out smarter not harder as I have gotten busier. I need to more efficient as I do not have time to get injured. I believe there is a sweet spot with exercise where less is more.
The official definition of Cardiovascular: Cardio is a form of aerobic exercise. For a mode of exercise to be considered aerobic, it should (a) be rhythmic in nature, (b) use large muscle groups, and (c) be continuous in nature. Some examples of modes of exercise recommended to
improve cardiorespiratory fitness include: Running, jogging or walking.
Cardio exercise elevates your heart rate for a sustained period. Cardio workouts burn calories, which can help you lose excess fat that hides muscle definition. Most people cannot get ripped doing strength training alone because excess fat will cover your muscles, no matter how big they are.
Some basics we all need to keep in mind: there are 3 main components on physical fitness. They are cardiovascular, resistance training and flexibility. Now there is not any one exercise that does all three. I have heard people through out my years of teaching insist yoga can check all three boxes, I beg to differ with the cardio part as the heart rate is not elevated for a consistent period EW Wellness Solutions of time. Others will insist running, but the average runner has almost no hip flexor range due to the repetitive nature of their sport. Even studio exercises such as barre, does not have enough cardio. It is absolutely ok to love spin class, but a few days a week to to spend some quality time stretching with a foam roller. I will be going over Resistance Training and Flexibility in greater detail over the next couple of weeks.
Benefits of Regular Exercise on Cardiovascular Risk Factors
- Reduction in body weight.
- Reduction in blood pressure.
- Reduction in bad (LDL and total) cholesterol.
- Increase in good (HDL) cholesterol.
- Increase in insulin sensitivity.
Cardio is great for helping with reducing body weight, but it is only part of the overall equation. 80% of all weight loss is due to our diet, not how many minutes we spend on the Stairmaster. Time spent in the gym is great for stress relief, but it isn’t everything as we once thought. A regular exercise routine can also reduce blood pressure and cholesterol. The better shape we get into, our bodies become more efficient at processing insulin, improving our overall health.
Like all good things, Cardio can be overdone. I have seen case after case of my peers doing too much and causing chronic problems for themselves. Many women my age are having overuse injuries from back to back classes of cycling. Now, having good form will only go so far if you are hunched over causing additional strain on the super sensitive area of our lower back. I am also a Classical Pilates teacher, and let me tell you, I do not do much Spinning anymore. I love it, but I am very aware of hurting my lower back. I exercise 6 days a week, but I am not on the bike as often as I once was.
I love doing Cardio for the stress relief I feel afterwards. It is a time where I can zone out and be in the moment. Not when I am teaching a class, but when I am in one, or when I am working out alone and really into the music. I usually solve whatever was stumping me before I started exercising and it is often the lead into the most productive hours of my day, after I am done with my session my creativity is off the charts.