Before we go any further, it’s important to clarify that exercise—of any kind—is beneficial and important for your overall health. With that being said, depending on your unique risk factors and your exercise goals, there are some activities that may be more or less beneficial for your specific needs.
So, if your goal is weight loss, like it is for many routine exercisers, is cardio your best bet? After all, weight loss should be as simple as burning more calories than what you take in—right? Well, not exactly.
Instead of helping you drop pounds, cardio may actually be increasing your weight, but not necessarily for the reasons you think. But before you give up on cardio completely, let’s take a brief moment to highlight the many benefits cardio offers, even if weight loss isn’t at the top of the list.
Just a few of the many benefits include improving your…
· Heart health
· Lung health
· Bone density
· Energy levels
So when it comes to weight loss, why isn’t cardio your best friend?
Cardio makes you tired. After the first few minutes of your cardio workout, fatigue starts in making intensity and form hard to maintain. You may feel like more time spent on cardio must equal more calories burned, but not if you’re dragging along.
Increased cardio = Increased huger. With how tired you’re feeling after a cardio session, you may feel hungry enough to eat just about anything. Unfortunately, you may be overestimating how many calories you actually burned during your workout—it isn’t a free pass to indulge.
Cardio isn’t efficient at building muscle. By now, you’ve probably heard that one of the best ways to lose weight is by building more muscle. This is because with increased muscle comes increased metabolism, or the rate at which your burn calories throughout the day. Now, cardio does build muscle, especially if you are running uphill or riding a bike with high resistance, but it isn’t as efficient as strength training.
Cardio can be time consuming. You don’t always have to spend a lot of time doing cardio to get its many benefits; however, if your goal is calories burned, it can take a fair amount of time. Depending on your intensity, it can take up to an hour to burn a high amount of calories. While weight lifting doesn’t necessarily burn more calories right away, your added muscle mass will boost your metabolism.
Cardio requires intensity. Similar to any type of exercise, weight loss with cardio isn’t only about consistency. When you routinely perform any activity, your body adapts and grows accustomed to that exercise. To keep cardio as beneficial as possible, you have to make sure to up intensity and increase your workout.
Cardio can be difficult. Between sports-related injuries, working on your form and reaching your next personal best, keeping your cardio routine in tip-top shape can be a challenge. That’s why Gwinnett Medical Center’s Fitness & Performance Center offers personalized, hands-on training from knowledgeable specialists. Whatever your individual needs, GMC’s fitness experts will provide a customized regimen that’s as unique as you are.