Cardiovascular exercise, also known as aerobic exercise, can be beneficial to your fitness regime. Examples of cardiovascular exercise are running, cycling and exercise that keeps your heart rate at a steady pace for a long period of time. For athletes, cardio can help with up and getting lean. In general, cardio exercises help with fat loss and increasing your cardiovascular fitness levels. These keep heart and lungs functioning optimally.
Too Much Cardiovascular Exercise can also Be Bad
Cardiovascular exercise can be detrimental to your fitness goals especially if you are looking to maintain lean muscle mass and prevent muscle breakdown. Too much cardio can also lead to exhaustion. Your body will sooner or later reach a plateau if you do too much cardiovascular exercise.
Too much cardio could lead to your body holding onto fat. As you body adapts to the cardio, you will need to increase the duration and intensity to keep burning fat optimally. However, at one point, your body will simply stop responding and you will stop losing weight. Too much cardio can lead to ongoing joint pain because of your joints constantly being overworked.
The Ideal Approach to Cardiovascular Exercise
The ideal approach is to find a balance between cardiovascular and weight training. Pace yourself and slowly increase your cardio over a period of time. Step up the duration and intensity slowly as you become fitter and stronger. However, ensure that you increase your cardio safely to prevent injury and burnout.
Do This Before you Add Cardiovascular Exercise to your Fitness Regime
The first thing you should do before adding cardio to your fitness routine is to assess your current cardiovascular fitness levels. You can do this by completing a cardio workout – under the supervision of a personal trainer or biokineticist – like running, cycling or walking a certain distance. Record the time it takes you to complete the distance. Try to keep your heart rate high but not extremely high. Between 50 – 70% is good.
Try to do this cardio test once a week and see if your time improves. From there, you will be able to gauge your fitness levels better and if your cardio exercises are increasing your cardiovascular fitness levels. Follow the same pace and duration for your cardio workouts for 2 – 3 weeks before pushing yourself. If you’re unsure about anything, appoach a personal trainer for guidance.
Once you see your fitness increasing, you can start to increase the intensity, frequency or the duration of your cardio workouts. Investing in a heart rate monitor or an exercise watch is a good idea if you want to keep track of your workouts and fitness levels.
It is always a good idea to listen to your body
If you’re not doing any cardio exercises at the moment, starting will put more stress on your bod. You’ll feel tired for the first week, which is normal. However, you will also feel the benefits of cardiovascular exercise, like heightened endorphin levels, increased fitness levels, more energy and a drop in body fat. If you start feeling drained and exhausted to the point where you have no energy to exercise, you should have a relook at your cardio approach and switch things up. Otherwise take a break from intense cardio exercise.