Using cardio for weight loss


Summer is fast approaching. Say you want to get lean and get that summer body. Your first instinct is to look to cardio to reach this goal. Running, biking, swimming — anything that will help you sweat out the calories.

But, exactly how much cardio should you do? How much is too much?

While there is no straight-to-the-point answer that fits all body types, athletic abilities or genetics, it is possible to get a rough estimate of what you need. That being said,regular cardio exercise is undisputedly an important part of a productive, effective weight loss routine.

The National Institutes of Health recommend at least 30 to 45 minutes of moderate-intensity cardio three to five times a week. Basically, this would incorporate some jogging or high-incline walking that can be done on a treadmill. Taking hikes can also be a good way to integrate the high-incline property to your walks!

If you’d prefer to burn fat and not just weight, a better alternative to cardio is a good HIIT session. High intensity interval training can be completed in several ways, but usually it consists of 30 to 60 seconds for each circuit and a minute’s rest between them. You could sprint for thirty seconds, rest for one minute, and do it all over again for a 15 to 20 minute period. This will burn off more calories in a shorter amount of time!

If you have the extra time, you should try to fit in some longer and lower-intensity cardio sessions such as walking or biking — or you can use other machines in your local gym. Full body exercises such as rowing and running usually burn more calories than isolated activities like cycling. Each machine in your gym has a calorie burn counter, and the amount of calories you can burn vary per machine.

However, you can expect to burn off at least 500 calories per hour — and that’s just the bare minimum! Each body is different, so you have the potential to burn more depending on your own genetics and the intensity you set for each exercise.

High intensity cardio is shown to burn more calories than strength training if it’s done for the same amount of time. Sure, cardio will help you lose weight you feel is excessive, but keep in mind that you’ll also lose muscle. Statistically speaking, mixing the two for a more effective fat-loss routine works for most.

So whether you’re working your way through your weight-loss journey or simply trying to wave goodbye to some pounds prior to a vacation, remember how important it is to include strength and flexibility exercises in your weekly training. This combination will boost your metabolism and keep you balanced and strong!