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A week ago, we asked our followers on social networks what kind of cardio workouts they prefer in the summer. After all, if there are almost no alternatives to the gym in the cold winter and rainy autumn, then in the summer you can arrange for jogging in the fresh air. It turned out that most of the respondents prefer to combine the gym with jogging. And it is right! Especially if you have a stadium or a park not far from your house where you can run without inhaling exhaust gases from the central streets of the city.

In the survey, we did not offer the option “I don’t do cardio at all, and for this, we received a PM message from a subscriber criticizing the uselessness of cardio. I confess I was not surprised by this message because as a trainer, I have heard similar objections from newcomers to fitness clubs many times.

What’s wrong with cardio?

Cardio is a popular topic of controversy. Opponents of cardio are even among athletes, not to mention amateurs. 

Few people dare to claim that cardio is harmful. But they urge instead of cardio to devote time to strength exercises since they are supposedly more effective. Two arguments are usually given:

  • Cardio will not give relief, will not allow you to work out specific muscle groups. You go to the gym, work there, but the result is not visible
  • Even if the goal is not relief, but weight loss, then quickly “pumping up” large groups (back muscles, thigh muscles, and gluteal muscles), you will thus increase your calorie intake, even within the framework of natural metabolism. Indeed, the muscle will consume more calories.

In general, both arguments are correct. But they make sense only under strictly limited terms. For example, if you want to make the maximum result in a month. But you cannot continue with the same tactics. And you also run the risk of losing the result in no time.

Now let’s look at the benefits of cardio.

  • The efficiency of the cardiovascular system is increased. You probably know that hardy trained people have a lower heart rate than other trained people. By giving your heart the right load, you teach it to contract less often, but at the same time throw out more blood with each beat
  • Cardio can improve sleep and reduce stress. And this is not a psychological effect, but quite a physiological one (through an increase in endorphins)
  • Cardio improves recovery. One of the best ways to ease Left Soreness Syndrome is to do exercises that engage the aerobic energy system, providing more oxygen and nutrients to the muscles for faster recovery.
  • The ability to burn fat for energy is improved. After all, cardio training increases glucose tolerance and sensitivity to catecholamines
  • As a result of regular exercise, blood pressure decreases

The main thing in cardio training is not to harm

However, you shouldn’t overdo your cardio workouts if your heart isn’t in perfect shape yet. An easy way to exercise in moderation is to monitor your heart rate. It should remain in the region of 70-80% of the maximum heart rate (MHR). It, in turn, is calculated by the formulas:

  • MHR for men = 214 – 0.8 x age
  • MHR for women = 209 – 0.9 x age

But these are “rough” formulas that do not take into account the individual characteristics of a person. For example, if a beginner athlete already has hypertension (and with long-term obesity, this is often observed), then the aerobic heart rate zone must be adjusted. A good coach will definitely discuss these nuances with you. And also modern cardio simulators are great at dealing with the issues of optimal load – they accurately control not only your current heart rate using sensors, but take into account its dynamics and the readings of your previous workouts. And modern simulators use gamification to make the training process exciting for you. For example, on the DISCOVER SE3 HD treadmill console, you can enable a video route Lifescape and run along the mountain trail or the summer emerald forest. Or watch your favorite Netflix series, or a business training on YouTube, or a game of your favorite team on IPTV:

Do you think all this is useless nonsense? Well, maybe for an experienced athlete, favorite music in headphones is enough, but beginners who still do not know how to hear and control their body correctly show the best results in cardio precisely when they are distracted from sensations and are busy with the screen of the media system. 

Cardio Summary

The exhausting cardio load can lead to the fact that you start eating more than spending – the body frightened by unexpected tests will begin to demand and store what you have received. Even if you have steel willpower and you manage to eat a little, the body will go into an energy-saving mode, slowing down metabolic processes. Will involuntarily become lazy, inactive. In general, you will not have time to continue training. 

Don’t get the idea that cardio is magic. There is no magic in fitness at all. But there is you, your coach, modern research, technological simulators. Add a little patience to that and you get the result.

Having worked with many athletes and amateurs, I try not to give universal advice. Strengthening and development of the body, and even more so professional sports, require an individual approach. But in the case of cardio, perhaps an exception can be made: I recommend combining strength and cardio training. Together they give maximum results over long periods. If you are not going to quit a fitness club after walking there for a month, then discuss with your coach the long-term program.

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