There are some considerations that you must bear in mind when determining the best cardio for weight loss. Most people blindly start an exercise routine before even knowing its effects and consequences on weight loss. This article will clearly show you what is important when choosing the best cardio for weight loss and how you can avoid making the mistake of choosing the wrong exercise.
Table of Contents for Article
- 1 What are cardio exercises
- 2 17 points you must consider when selecting the best cardio for weight loss
- 2.1 1. Understand how to get sustainable weight loss
- 2.2 2. Steady state cardio has its limits
- 2.3 3. Do you understand exercise hierarchy for weight loss
- 2.4 4. Have you exercised before
- 2.5 5. Must consistently increase exercise intensity
- 2.6 6. Use a stationary bike if you are too heavy or too unfit
- 2.7 7. Progress must be measurable
- 2.8 8. How much time can you spend
- 2.9 9. Change cardio exercises often
- 2.10 10. Consider sports as part of your exercise regimen
- 2.11 11. Must boost metabolism
- 2.12 12. Understand that target heart rate is a myth
- 2.13 13. Are you moving your entire body
- 2.14 14. Can you easily measure progress
- 2.15 15. How much do you want to invest in equipment
- 2.16 16. Is convenience of exercising important to you
- 2.17 17. Do you need social pressure to be committed
- 3 Considerations to select the best cardio for weight loss
What are cardio exercises
Cardio exercises are also known as aerobic or endurance exercises. These are essentially a group of exercises that depend on oxygen in the body’s energy generating process. That is the scientific explanation. The layman will understand it as any exercise that is done at a steady pace for an extended duration. Examples of steady state cardio exercises include brisk walking, jogging, swimming or cycling.
17 points you must consider when selecting the best cardio for weight loss
1. Understand how to get sustainable weight loss
It is essential that you target sustainable and healthy weight loss. The first step is to get educated on how to achieve healthy and sustainable weight loss. Healthy weight loss requires a holistic approach to your lifestyle. We refer to this holistic approach as Correct Weight Loss. When you get more information and become educated, it may change your perspective of cardio and its role in weight loss. You will be wiser in your lifestyle and specifically exercise choices. Here are further references that you can refer to for healthy weight loss choices.
- What is correct weight loss and how to achieve it
- How to lose weight correctly
- Principles of correct weight loss
2. Steady state cardio has its limits
Someone who has never exercised will usually get a good amount of weight loss when starting on any cardio exercise. The body eventually finds a balance and the weight loss plateaus. The muscles involved in that particular cardio exercise have adapted to the stresses of the exercise. In order to continue getting weight loss, you need to increase intensity. This can usually be done by either increasing the duration or the speed of the exercise. This becomes impractical after a while. After all, how much faster or further can you continue running? You need to realize that cardio is part of the answer and not the answer for weight loss. The following articles will help explain this better.
3. Do you understand exercise hierarchy for weight loss
You need to understand the exercise hierarchy for effective, healthy and sustainable weight loss. The core exercise of your weight loss efforts must be strength training. You need to allocate 3 sessions of up to 45 minutes each week. This leaves you with 1 to 2 sessions for cardio. This is assuming that you want to limit exercise to 5 sessions a week. It is unrealistic to expect yourself to do more than 5 sessions of exercise a week as this is not sustainable in the long-term. Read more in the resources below about the exercise hierarchy and why strength training must be the core of your exercise regimen.
- Best exercise for weight loss
- How strength training helps weight loss
- Benefits of strength training for women
4. Have you exercised before
People who have never exercised should always start by taking baby steps. Start walking first before moving to brisk walks and finally jogging or running. Choose a cardio exercise that matches your current state of fitness and move on from there. You really have all the time in the world. Build up your fitness and strength slowly. The last thing you want to do is to injure yourself and be unable to exercise at all.
5. Must consistently increase exercise intensity
The best cardio for weight loss is the one where you are consistently increasing exercise intensity. As an example, when you run the same distance at the same speed, you are not going to get continuous weight loss. Eventually your body will adapt to the exercise and weight loss will plateau. In order to continue getting weight loss, you must continuously challenge your body. One option is to consider doing interval training. This allows you to increase intensity. Read more in the resource below. Although the article is based on running, the principles can be applied to any cardio exercise.
6. Use a stationary bike if you are too heavy or too unfit
Obese people should not engage in high impact exercises such as brisk walking or jogging. This is because their excessive weight can accelerate the wear and tear in their joints. This is especially so for the knees. The best cardio for weight loss in this scenario is a stationary bike. You can also easily increase intensity by doing interval training with a stationary bike. It allows you to increase intensity with minimum impact on the knees.
7. Progress must be measurable
You must be able to measure exercise intensity. If you cannot measure it, you cannot improve on it. The best way to measure intensity is by incorporating high intensity interval training into your exercise regimen. Take the example of a stationary bike to explain how intensity can be measured in interval training. You start off by cycling at a slow pace for say 1 minute. This is known as the rest phase. Next, you cycle as fast as you can for 30 seconds. This is known as the work phase. This is repeated 8 times and you have an example of a typical interval training regimen. In order to increase intensity, you need to either increase work phase duration, reduce rest phase duration or do both.
8. How much time can you spend
Availability of time is often a crucial factor when it comes to selecting an exercise and consistently doing it. You should bear in mind that you only have 2 slots for cardio exercise in a week after you have done 3 sessions of strength training. As an example, jogging may consume less time overall since it can be done in a park near your house. Swimming on the other hand could be more time intensive since you need to go to the swimming pool. Although the actual exercise time may be the same, the time taken before and after the exercise should also be considered. The following are some useful resources on how to find time for exercise.
9. Change cardio exercises often
Do not stick to only one exercise. Keep changing your exercises often. Use a stationary bike in one week and run or swim in the next week. These different exercises constantly challenge the body and help your weight loss efforts.
10. Consider sports as part of your exercise regimen
Games such as tennis, squash, soccer or badminton can give you an extremely effective cardio workouts. This should be part of your consideration when selecting the best cardio for weight loss. Do bear in mind that this should only be limited to 2 or 3 times a week since you also need to do 3 sessions of strength training every week.
11. Must boost metabolism
Most people are caught up with trying to burn fat during the workout. Exercises that only burn fat during the workout are the worst cardio for weight loss. The best cardio for weight loss boosts your metabolism and allows you to burn fat through out the day. Interval training is one such exercise. It does not burn much fat during the workout but gives your metabolism a tremendous boost. This allows you to burn more fat throughout the day and not only during the workout.
12. Understand that target heart rate is a myth
Do not get caught up with trying to achieve a certain target heart rate. Most people associate the target heart rate as the zone in which one gets the most fat burn during exercise. While this is true during the exercise, fat burning comes to an almost complete halt when the exercise is stopped. You should instead be pushing to continuously increase exercise intensity. This will easily need you to be above the target heart rate, also known as the anaerobic zone. Although it may not be achievable by a beginner, you can eventually achieve this by consistently pushing your workout intensity.
13. Are you moving your entire body
Cardio exercises that move your entire body are more effective than those that don’t. As an example, walking and running are more effective than cycling. On the other hand, someone who is unfit or severely obese may need to start on the stationary bike first before attempting to do brisk walks or jogs.
14. Can you easily measure progress
One of the main reasons that most cardio exercises are not effective is because most people do these exercises at the same intensity day in and day out. The reason people do not increase intensity is because they make the mistake of not measuring it. As an example, consider someone who started exercise for the first time. The first goal maybe to walk 1 km. This should progressively increase until he can walk 5 km. The next goal would be to jog 5km. This should be followed by increasing the pace and reducing the time taken to complete the 5 km jog or run. By measuring time and distance, he will always be pushing the boundary and preventing his body from adapting to the exercise.
15. How much do you want to invest in equipment
You need to consider how much you are willing to invest in equipment for the exercise of your choice. If you are interested in walking or running, you need to invest in the best shoes that you can afford. After all, your knees are worth more than a few hundred dollars. Others may consider a stationary bike or a treadmill. Others still may just consider joining a gym.
16. Is convenience of exercising important to you
Some exercises are so inconvenient to do that the initiative fails before even shedding a single drop of sweat. Swimming is one such example. You need to find your way to the swimming pool at least twice a week. This may be too much to demand from most busy people. For others, the commute time to the gym is more than the exercise time itself. These people will benefit more from a treadmill or stationary bike in their house. Be realistic about exercise convenience. If it is very time-consuming, chances are you are not going to be able to sustain it without a very high level of commitment.
Do you need social pressure to do the exercise. Some people like to walk or run with their friends. This keeps them committed. Can you continue doing the cardio exercise of your choice without social pressure?
Considerations to select the best cardio for weight loss
The best cardio for weight loss will be different for different people. The most important consideration is to be consistently doing the exercise and to be consistently increasing the intensity of each exercise. Most of the points mentioned above are there to help you think of all challenges that may occur when doing cardio exercises. Some people overlook some of these factors and end-up being inconsistent with their exercises.
Provided that you can increase intensity for every exercise session, the best cardio for weight loss for you is one that you can stick to.