Posted on October 09 2017
Best Cardio Techniques for Weight Loss
Cardiovascular exercise is important in maintaining physical fitness. This form of exercise effectively burns calories using our metabolism and can act as a way to reduce bodyfat stores. It’s really your body’s way of getting rid of excess fat and jump starting the cardiovascular system for optimal circulation. But the benefits of cardio encompass more than just burning calories; exercises that involve cardio, such as running or using the elliptical machine can even work to strengthen already-existing muscle. As you explore different ways to go about cardio, you’ll need to keep some things in mind to achieve the best cardio techniques for weight loss. Here are a few:
Be Smart About Cardio
Even though cardio may seem like a straight-forward way to work out, there are good and bad practices. As with any exercise, being smart about planning your cardio workout can extinguish the risk of injury and can maximize the results you get. For the best cardio workouts for weight loss, you’ll want to find a workout that is good for your mind and body. Even though you may be looking to lose weight quickly (it can be tempting to feel impatient and want to speed things along), keep in mind that with the right kind of workout formatted to your needs, you’ll be using the most effective form of cardio for you.
For example, maybe you prefer the confines of the gym as opposed to a morning run. Or you may enjoy a brisk walk over riding a bike. Whatever you plan to do, try to find some cardio that you enjoy, or can learn to enjoy. You’re more likely to stick with it in the long run, and will therefore be able to use it for ultimate calorie burning and weight loss.
When planning out your cardio workout, keep in mind that you want to be intentional. Instead of just winging it, use a Fitbit or another device to measure your heart rate. Because exceeding your target heart rate can lead to serious consequences It is important to stay within the safe range of heartrate based on age. On the other hand, if you don’t get to your target range, you’re never going to burn the necessary calories for ultimate weight loss. You can easily find what a healthy target range is for heart rate online or by consulting with a certified trainer.
HIIT, or high interval intensity training, has proven to be one of the most effective weight loss tools. By increasing your heart rate rapidly, following by slowing it down in intervals, the body is able to more effectively activate your metabolism. Though these workouts involve exerting high amounts of energy, they are incredibly effective.
The good news is that HIIT sessions are generally much shorter than doing an hour of moderate exercise on the treadmill. Although you’re maxing out your energy during these workouts, these bursts only last for 30 second to 1 minute, maximum. Essentially, you should engage in an extreme rigorous burst of up to 30 seconds, often a full-on sprint at top speed, followed by a slow walk for 30 second. Then repeat. These sessions often only last 10-15 minutes, or until you’ve reached peak exhaustion. If you’re wanting to cut down your time at the gym, or you just don’t enjoy spending a long time doing more traditional cardio, this is a great option that yields fantastic results.
Running or jogging can often cause physical issues with those who have sensitive joints or past injuries. As the full weight of the body comes down on one foot at a time, the pressure between bones in the feet, knees, ankles, and hips increases. This can lead to irritation such as shin splints, or something even more extreme such as fractures, etc. Since injuries can only heal by long time periods of resting, this could put a pause on your goals for losing weight. So for those with joint issues, using a low-impact but still effective mode of cardio for weight loss is an important part of the process.
Swimming – One of the most forgotten methods of effective cardio for weight loss is swimming. It burns an insane number of calories since you’re exerting large amounts of energy to propel your entire body through water, but the best part is it is easy on the joints. Often, those with healing injuries are directed by physical therapists to enter the pool for exercise without impact damage. Plus, it’s a really refreshing way to get in some effective cardio!
Cycling – If you’re not one for the water, try doing some cycling. Whether you’re on a bike simulator at the gym or on a real bike, try to vary your difficulty level by increasing the resistance, or by heading up a hill. This works to build muscle as well as burn calories. And since you’re not exerting too much sudden pressure on any joints, it’s a great low-impact workout.
Rowing – There’s no better total body workout than rowing! Utilizing your arms, chest, legs, and core, rowing is a great way to build muscle while burning calories. Plus, it’s generally easy on the joints, as long as you make swift but smooth rowing motions.
Elliptical – This one’s great because you can not only adjust the difficulty level, but it uses the total body as well. For a little back-end firming, try going backwards on the elliptical for a few minutes. By using your hamstrings and glutes, you’ll use a different set of muscles which will give a nice variety to your cardio workout!
So, it’s pretty simple—pick a version of cardio workout that fits your wants and needs, and shoot for a target heart rate. Using specific types of cardio like HIIT, you can maximize your calorie burning and lose weight more effectively.
By keeping these few things in mind, you’ll be on your way to designing an effective cardio workout that’s right for you, and that leads to ultimate weight loss!