How Much Cardio Do You Actually Need?

Whether you want to maintain good health or lose weight, here’s what you should know

With summer on the way, you may be planning to spend time by the pool or at the beach. But, if you perhaps put on a little weight over the winter, you’re probably not quite ready to get into your bathing suit just yet. And if you are thinking about ways to shed some of those pounds, you might be putting together a fitness regimen which almost certainly includes some sort of cardio workout. But how much should you do? And is there such a thing as too much? Here’s what you need to know before getting started.

What is cardio and why is it important?

We all know that things like running, swimming, and biking are beneficial, but how exactly do these activities enhance our health? It’s because these types of exercises do a couple of different things. First, they improve the ability of both the lungs and heart to deliver oxygen-rich blood to muscles. Secondly, cardiovascular fitness boosts the muscles’ ability to utilize this oxygen, resulting in more energy. Numerous studies show just how important cardio is for our health, from allowing us to live longer to improving our immune systems. And, of course, cardio exercise can be very good for losing weight.

How much cardio should you do?

According to recommendations from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), everyone should be getting at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity every week. If you’re trying to maintain your health, these are good guidelines to follow; a brisk 30-minute walk five days a week can be an excellent way to stay in good shape. For people who are beginning a fitness routine after a long layoff or for the first time, it’s important that they don’t rush things. While it’s still good to hit that 150-minute mark, they can do it by walking about 20 minutes every day.

But what about for weight loss?

If you’re envisioning all those eyes on you when you hit the water, this is probably the main question on your mind. Vigorous aerobic exercise can help you lose weight, and the HHS recommends 75 minutes per week of this. In many cases, this might just be one class at the gym. But for better results, you’ll want to do cardio 2-3 times per week, and this could include both low- and high-intensity workouts.

It is important to pick activities that you enjoy and can do for an extended period. If, for example, you play a 15-minute game of tennis, you’ll burn about 116 calories. But if you can play for an hour, that number goes up to 464.

How do you know you’re doing too much cardio?

The best workouts for both maintaining health and losing weight involve both cardio and other kinds of exercise, including weight training. But many people go overboard on the cardio part, which can end up being more harmful than helpful. Here are signs to look out for that indicate you’re doing too much.

You’re not losing any weight

It may sound counterintuitive, but cardio may not help you lose weight. This is because doing too much of it – and forgetting about strength training – can result in muscle loss, which leads to a slower metabolism. Add in the fact that you may eat more because these workouts are making your hungrier, and this could actually result in weight gain.

You’re always tired

A good workout may tire you out a little, but overall, cardio should give you more energy. Aerobic exercises lead to stronger bones and muscles, but if you take things too far, this puts stress on the body which will make you feel tired all of the time.

You’re having trouble sleeping

The irony of too much cardio making you tired is the fact that it may also prevent you from sleeping well. A good amount of daily activity can be a great way to get better sleep. However, when people over exercise, often their stress hormones are increased, leading to sleepless nights.

You’re constantly sore

Some soreness is normal from cardio workouts, especially if you’re a newbie. But, the more you exercise, the more accustomed your body should be, so the soreness should mostly go away. However, if it lingers – particularly in your joints – this means you need to slow things down or risk injury.

These tips can help you look your best this summer, and to alleviate any aches on your fitness journey, get CopperGel’s long-lasting roll-on pain reliever.

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