The Cardio Low Down – Love it or Loathe it!
Cardio! A few people (a very few I suspect) really enjoy cardiovascular focused exercise and get a lot out of it, both physically and emotionally. Many have a begrudging respect for it while others do it – but would be happy to find some other way of getting those benefits. The great thing about modern health exercise research is that we can now determine a variety of factors regarding the various forms of cardio. It is truly an outdated idea that you have to jog 5 to 10km to get the “true” benefits of cardio.
Let’s take a look at the five types of cardio and some examples.
Low Intensity with Constant Effort and Longer Time:
Brisk walking for 45 minutes to an hour is the true and tested here. Now strolling is not part of the equation! Strolling is for people in rehab or for something other than exercise. You need to get your heart to about 55% to 60% of its predicted maximum beats per minute PMHB (PMHB is 220-your age). This is very good for health, fat burning and an overlooked bonus: it keeps your lumbar discs in good shape – if you have lower back issues this is THE NUMBER ONE exercise for you.
Moderate Intensity Aerobics:
We are talking the classics and the new: jogging, cycle classes, stair climber/ stair master and even the good old aerobic dance classes. Working at around 75% of PMHB for 30 to 40 minutes. This will really get the heart and lungs working. This is great for fat loss and a proven activity for sustained good health as long as no injuries are present.
High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT):
This is where it gets interesting! If you can cope with it, this is now looking like the fastest way to both fat burning and gaining some solid cardio vascular health benefits. With a session of no more than 20 to 30 minutes you go your hardest for a minute then go very light for 1 to 2 minutes depending on your fitness level then repeat. You can try it with the following:
- Rope skipping
- Beach sprints
- Hill climbing
- Spin cycle classes.
The research is in. HIIT training does burn more calories overall than a longer session of say jogging or an hour of brisk walking. It seems the body keeps burning fat longer after finishing exercise due to the significant deficit in energy stores and oxygen to the blood. But it is hard going and not for everyone.
Aerobic Interval Training:
This one sits in the middle between 2 and 3 above. It is especially good for beginners wanting to get results fast with their aerobic training. With intervals, you do 3 minutes at 85% of PMHB then a minute at a much slower rate (but not stopping altogether). This is often a good choice for people baulk at the constant demands of classic cardio and who can’t or don’t want to get into the extreme efforts of HIIT. Interval training with this model has also shown to be a premium method for fat loss and a faster way to better heart and lung conditioning. A very cool and new way to try this is with rope exercises. Swinging and moving those giant ropes is both fun and it is done with a partner. You also get a core strength workout to boot with balance and dynamic movements thrown in for good measure!
Circuit training is essentially aerobic weight training. This involves setting a number of work out stations with a range of exercises that work the entire body, e.g. free weights, machines, stepper, cycle, rope. You then move from station to station with a set program – this is one to do with a personal trainer. It is a good method to combine aerobic work and weight training at the same time. The primary benefit of circuit is its holistic approach, working the entire body instead of just the legs (as aerobic training traditionally does).
The health benefits are enormous
Exercise is renown for improving your overall health, number one is weight loss. Obesity is often the precursor to diseases such as diabetes, high cholesterol and heart disease. Regular exercise is the key to ensuring your mind and body is in prime condition. It also aids in sexual dysfunction and assists in prevention of erectile dysfunction in men.
In conclusion, the important message to take away is for a healthy life, it’s important to choose one. You’ll not only look good, feel good but it’s a key ingredient to longevity. For more reading on the benefits of exercise and erectile dysfunction follow this link.