Cardiovascular exercise is something that is recommended for everyone. Even if you have no desire to lose weight, keeping your heart in good shape is tremendously important, especially if you are over the age of forty. Many people, however, seem to believe that cardiovascular exercise is all the same.
Surprisingly, this is quite far from the truth. Depending on your goals, there is a form of cardio that can be tailored to exactly what you want to achieve. Those wishing to shed mass require a significantly different program than those who are attempting to get in shape for athletic activity.
Body builders or simply individuals wishing to add muscle will need a different intensity level than those who simply wish to burn fat. Knowing the difference between the various types of cardio is integral to reaching your goals in a timely and efficient manner.
Cardio Exercises To Shed Fat
If your primary goal is weight loss, you have perhaps the widest array of cardio options available to you. Medium or even low intensity exercise will burn calories if you stick with it. If you’re capable of high intensity cardio such as sprinting for a moderate distance, you will find that you will reach your goal this way also.
Yet some ways are more efficient than others. Medium intensity exercise for a prolonged period of time is the most highly recommended means of burning fat. This is because you will reach your optimum heart rate and sustain it for a longer period of time. Your metabolism will be sped up for the remainder of the day, and you will quickly and efficiently build cardiovascular endurance.
Cut Fat and Maintain Muscle
Unfortunately, if you are looking to trim your figure while maintaining as much muscle definition as possible, your options are slightly more limited. Prolonged medium intensity or low intensity cardio is rather indiscriminate in what it uses as fuel. High intensity, however, is often less so. Think the difference in figure between a marathon runner and a sprinter.
One is extremely lean, while the other is actually quite muscular. High intensity or HIIT exercises are the best way to accomplish your goals. In HIIT, you alternate high intensity periods with medium intensity periods to “trick” your body into sustaining a high heart rate. Your exercises should generally last no longer than thirty to thirty five minutes. Be sure to warm up properly before you begin and cool down afterwards.
Athletic Cardio Exercises
If you are looking to improve your performance in a sport or simply wish to do “explosive” cardio, then there are some options that are perfectly tailored for the athlete. Plyometric routines often involve large amounts of jumping and high volume movements.
Such programs claim to be able to increase both your vertical and horizontal leaping distance, all while giving you an excellent cardiovascular exercise. Be careful, however, as such exercises can very easily lead to injuries. Stretch properly and do not push your body beyond its natural limits. If you push yourself too far, you will rapidly find yourself sitting on the sidelines watching the game.