Cardio for some people is a drudgery, whereas it should be looked upon as a necessity.
In my next two blogs I’d like to speak to you about the importance of doing cardio. What exactly is cardio? Besides toning or building muscles, cardio works the most important muscle of all, the heart. The heart is a muscle that needs to be worked to keep strong and vibrant. Along with the heart are the lungs, which need cardio also. As a former lung cancer patient, I was taught that the bottom half of the lungs are clogged with pollution, mucous, and other agents that keep the air sacs from opening up all the way. Two ways of opening up these sacs are doing cardio exercises, and or panting. Once they’re opened, you will experience better breathing and longer breaths. When this occurs, the heart gets more oxygen. The more oxygen you get, the better you and your heart will feel. This is the foundation of working out a strong exercise regime. Remember that a building is only as strong as its foundation.
There are several machines for doing cardio. The most popular is the treadmill, followed by the elliptical, and bicycle. A brisk walk on a treadmill will get your blood pumping, which in turn, gets your heart rate up. The average standing heart rate is in the seventies (BPM). Doing cardio will get it to rise up in the hundred plus area. It’s up to you to pick your exercise tool to get the job done. If your goal is to burn fat, then you will need this important tip. People come up to me all the time and ask me how long should they do cardio to burn fat? The answer is fat doesn’t start to burn until you hit forty-five minutes minimum.
Sorry to burst your bubble, but that’s how it works. If the treadmill or elliptical isn’t your cup of tea, then try the bicycles. There are two kinds to choose from, the upright, and the recumbent. My personal choice is the recumbent because the seat is wider, and sitting into the bike versus sitting on top is more comfortable. However keep in mind that using either bicycle will make it harder to get your heart rate up than using the treadmill or elliptical. Bear in mind that using something is better than using nothing.
Another question I get is when to do cardio, before or after my strength training. I say that it is entirely up to the individual. I personally prefer to do it after my workout, because I find that if I do it before my workout I’m too tired to continue. I hope this blog has been helpful in rounding out your training regimen.
In closing I’d like to recap an important fact from my last blog on weight loss. It occurred to me that I left out a most important piece of information, the importance of eating breakfast. For those of you who aren’t eating breakfast and are trying to lose weight, you should pay attention to the following. When you get up in the morning, your metabolism is still sleeping and needs to be awakened. Eating something for breakfast will wake up the metabolism, which in turn will start doing its job of burning fat and calories. Your metabolism is like a furnace that needs a log (food) in it to start working. When you neglect eating breakfast you actually store fat. This is because the metabolism goes into survival mode. Ever hear the saying “you have to eat to lose”? Well you’re hearing it now. My next blog is going to be a surprise, so stay tuned.
At this time I’d like to wish all my friends and family a most joyous holiday season. Happy and healthy!
Yours in health,
Author of Three Strikes You’re in