There is possibly no other aspect of fitness more confusing than cardio exercises. The what, when, how, where, and why can get quite complicated if you are using cardio workouts to burn fat and lose weight. When done properly, any cardio exercise can help you maintain a healthy weight, help your heart pump enough oxygen rich blood to your heart, and strengthen your brain. BUT, many people don’t do these exercises properly and that can just waste your time. Read no to see if you are making common cardio mistakes, and learn ways that you can get the most out of your time.
1. No Cardio At All
Ever look around your gym and see people only lifting weights. There is no warm up or any heart rate increasing activity at all. Cardio exercises are not just to make you sweat. It strengthens your heart, muscles, and brain. Also, most people sit for about 10 hours a day. This sedentary behaviour has caused an increase in heart disease and strokes. Our bodies are made to move so it is so important to get some in. Adding cardio 2-3 times a week to your weightlifting routine can work wonders on your health.
2. Always Doing The Same Thing
Eating the same meal everyday, wearing the same clothes, and only spending time with the same people can get so boring. Your body goes through the same thing. Doing the same cardio exercises everyday bores your body. Your body will plateau and there will be no benefits. Try changing up what you do. Try using different machines, adding skipping or rowing, or trying a class every so often to keep your body guessing and working.
3. Not Using Resistance
It’s not hard to figure out that increased resistance burns calories. You aren’t doing much if you are on the first level on a machine with no incline. Challenge your body. If you are just starting out, start by increasing the level by 2 or 3 and soon you will be able to get it pretty high. This will keep your heart pumping and calories burning.
4. Slow Moving
Walking on a treadmill at a normal pace is not cardio. Your heart is not being strengthened. You need to pick up the pace. If you can hold a conversation while doing any cardio exercise than you are going too easy on yourself. I’m not telling you to sprint, or go at a pace that you can’t maintain, but move faster.
5. Leaning on the Machine
The bars and handles on a machine are great for keeping balance or assisting you while working out, but they should not be used to lean on. Leaning on a machine decreases the intensity of your workout burning less calories, but it also messes with your posture and muscles. If you are finding it hard to sit up straight on a bike, or stand upright on the elliptical then decrease the resistance. It is better to be at a resistance that you have proper posture and form.
6. Only Doing Cardio
If you really want to increase muscle mass and lose weight, doing only cardio will not get you there. It is important to add in strength -training workouts at least 3 times a week to really see changes in your body. Something many people don’t realize is that strength training actually burns more calories than cardio.
Cardio should not be scary. If you are doing something that you enjoy then you will actually look forward to exercising. It just takes a few changes to reap all the benefits. If you have any questions on your cardio routine don’t be afraid to ask.