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You may find yourself seeking a workout routine that will effectively shred those extra pounds. Or you might be getting frustrated in the middle of your weight-loss journey as you look for ways to reach your weight goal. Perhaps you feel a boost of motivation to get off the couch as you think of ways towards health and wellness and wonder, “Is cardio good for weight loss?”
We all know losing weight is not a walk in the park. It is a slow process, and while it is normal to feel discouraged. There will be an improvement (and setbacks) in your weight loss journey and workout routine. There are various ways to effectively lose weight, and cardio exercise is worth sweating!
While cardio is well-known for helping burn calories faster, you will find more information about this addition to your workout routine. You’ll discover:
- What a cardio exercise is?
- Which cardio exercises will give the most calorie burn?
- What is the recommended cardio exercise duration for weight loss?
Furthermore, you’ll have an idea when it comes to planning your cardio workout so that you can start and get your body moving.
What is Cardio Exercise?
Cardiovascular or aerobic exercise, also known as cardio exercise, is any activity that raises your breathing and heart rate. It is performed continuously or repetitively using a large group of muscles in your body.
During this type of exercise, our metabolic system utilizes oxygen to supply the energy needed to execute the performance, hence the term “aerobic.”
Studies show that cardio exercises promote weight loss, improve cardiorespiratory health, boost mood, and even enhance sleep.
Which Cardio Exercise is Best for Weight Loss?
Now that we have established that cardio exercises are calorie-burning remember that frequency, time, and intensity are the core of every cardio workout. Here’s a list of the best cardio exercises known to burn the most calories:
- Running and jogging
- Jumping Rope
- High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)
How Much Cardio Should I Do a Day to Lose Weight?
Experts recommend performing at least 30 to 45 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise daily, 3 to 5 times a week.
To make it more convenient for starters, you can spread your workout throughout the week to reach either 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity activity.
Additionally, you can also do your cardio exercise in a day with alternating intensity levels to maximize your workout sessions. You can stir things up by alternating high- and low-intensities in a day or 2 or more days of an equivalent mix of moderate- and vigorous-intensity of aerobic activity.
Keep in mind that a variety of factors could affect the calories you burn. We go back to the golden rule that:
You have to burn calories more than the amount you consume to promote a calorie deficit.
Burning 3,500 calories above your intake will make you lose one pound. It is important to note that the success of your weight loss journey with cardio exercises is dependent on your caloric intake.
Can I Just Do Cardio to Lose Weight?
Aerobic training alone is well-documented to be effective in reducing fat and body mass compared to other types of exercise. However, some studies show that combining high volumes of cardio exercises with strength training is more effective in weight loss.
Furthermore, adding a strength-training routine of 2 or more days a week to your cardio can be beneficial to your workout regimen. This can promote the building of muscles, which can allow you to exert more power in your workouts. Added muscle mass can also increase metabolism and beat weight-loss plateaus.
To reap the benefits of strength training, you don’t necessarily need to jump immediately to heavy lifting. Some compound exercises you can incorporate in your cardio exercises include squats, lunges, burpees, and bodyweight circuits.
How to Plan a Cardio Workout?
It’s easy to overcomplicate your cardio workout, especially when dealing with the types of exercises, the number of sets and repetitions, workout duration, and intensity. To help you plan your cardio workout, here are some tips:
1 – Set your fitness goals
Before starting any workout program, you should know what your goals are. Set your short- and long-term goals in order to gauge yourself. Consider your weight, fitness level, preferred workouts, and schedule.
2 – Choose exercises that work best for you
It is recommended that your cardio workout is well-rounded with different activities and various levels of intensity and duration. This can take away the repetitiveness in your routine.
3 – Track your progress.
Achievements, no matter how small, should be celebrated. Using a heart monitor or fitness tracker can help you track your progress. Plus,
Cardio exercises can help you lose those dreaded pounds. Not only is it effective for weight loss, but it is also beneficial to your overall health and well-being.
In doing your cardio exercises, always keep in mind that frequency, intensity, and time are essential to maximizing your calorie burn. Do not forget to incorporate rest days to prevent muscle strain. Note that we want to reap the benefits of cardio exercises in a safe yet effective way.
No weight loss program is complete without nutrition. While cardio and weight training are good for burning calories, how many calories you consume will have a bigger impact on your weight loss goals. If you’re struggling with nutrition, try a prepared meal service like Clean Eatz Kitchen that keeps your nutrition regimented.
And while it’s good that you track every measurement, remember not to pay too much attention to the numbers on the scale. Consider every sweat and those moments of winded feeling during your cardio exercises as your commitment to reaching your health goals.