Should I do cardio or not?
Cardiovascular exercise was once seen as a sure-fire way to burn off excess fat and flab. Recently, however, there has been a change of opinion in some quarters, and there are even those who suggest it can hinder weight loss. So, the question is, should you be doing cardio?
Cardiovascular exercise is anything that increases your heart rate. It has myriad health advantages, from benefiting the heart and lungs right through to helping with bone density and reducing stress. With all this in mind, it is important to understand that cardio is an important component of your overall health and fitness, above and beyond the numbers on your scales.
Does cardio help you get lighter?
If you get onto a treadmill and run for about 30 minutes, you can expect to burn around 300 calories. Although this might seem a fair number, that’s not even the equivalent of a whole muffin. This should underline the point that dietary changes, rather than simply doing a lot of cardio work, is the key to weight loss.
Lift weights to lose weight?
One kilo of muscle burns around 50 calories a day, whereas a kilo of fat burns just three. Therefore, if you can increase your muscle mass, you will increase the number of calories you use in a day. Doing strength training to improve your muscle bulk will raise your basal metabolic rate, helping you to stay on top of your weight.
The perfect combination
The government recommends people to do five sessions of exercise a week. Choosing to do three of these sessions as cardio and two as weight training is a good way of enjoying the health benefits of both types of exercise. Training at a high intensity for shorter periods is also better than long sessions of low-intensity workouts, and doing high-intensity work often benefits your cardiovascular system while also helping you build muscle.