Many athletes have a love-hate relationship with cardio. On the one hand, it is good for your body and endurance. On the other hand, people often prefer to work with weights than “boring” cardio exercises. Would you still like to go cardio to lose weight, lose fat or improve your fitness? Then you want to know what the best cardio exercises are. You can use an enormous amount of different cardio forms in your training. You can opt for cardio equipment, but also for training in the forest or on the beach. In this article I will explain what the benefits of cardio are and which exercises you can do best!
What is cardio?
But what exactly is cardio? Cardio stands for cardiovascular and this relates to heart and blood vessels. Cardiovascular training is meant to increase the heart rate, so that the burning increases. In other words, cardio is intended to stimulate fat loss and improve endurance. In many cases athletes choose (running), cycling or the cross trainer as cardio exercise. There are of course other options, such as obstacle runs or Calisthenics. Cardio can be seen as endurance sport, where you train at the same intensity for a longer period of time. However, circuit training or HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) also falls under cardio. This is an explosive form of cardio training.
Cardio is a popular form of training for fat loss. However, it is not necessary to do cardio. After all, the most important thing is a diet plan with a calorie deficit, so that your body switches to the connection of fat reserves. Cardio can contribute to the linking of more calories, making it easier to lose weight. Moreover, training your endurance is also important, especially when you do this to support another sport (such as football, hockey or a martial arts).
In addition to choosing the best cardio exercises, it is also important to determine your intensity. One group likes to opt for cardio at a lower intensity, because then you mainly use fat as an energy source. This makes your cardio training longer. Other athletes give shape to HIIT training, where you maintain a high intensity. These cardio training sessions are shorter, but you burn a lot of calories with them. Ultimately, losing weight is about achieving a calorie deficit.
A study by the University of New South Wales (UNSW) shows that high intensity cardio is more effective for fat loss. This is partly because the after-burn (burning of calories after your workout) is higher.
Benefits cardio training
Cardio is not necessary and is not the favorite of many strength athletes. However, regular cardiovascular training has many benefits. That way you can eat more because you burn extra calories. This makes it easier to maintain a diet with calorie restriction. In general, cardio is also good for your health. It improves the condition of your cardiovascular system, ensures better sleep quality and increases metabolism. You can also use cardio as an active recovery. By training at a lower intensity you stimulate the circulation and the removal of lactic acid, this helps with the recovery of your muscles after (heavy) strength training.
Makes maintaining a healthy diet easier
Good as an active recovery after strength training
Improves the quality of your sleep
Contributes to a better condition
Are there any disadvantages to cardiovascular training? Not very happy! But it is important to take a number of points into account. For example, too much cardio can lead to muscle mass breakdown. This happens when you burn a lot of energy and therefore have a too large calorie deficit every day. Your body will then use the proteins from muscles as an energy source. A good balance between fitness training and cardio is therefore important. Long-term and heavy cardio training also increase the stress hormone cortisol.
A lot of cardio can lead to a loss of muscle mass
Can increase cortisol levels
Some cardio exercises are more sensitive to injury
The best cardio exercises
But what are the best cardio exercises? First of all, it is important to choose a training form that you enjoy doing. This ensures that you stay motivated for longer. What if you hates running? Then don’t do this and choose an alternative, such as swimming or cycling. In terms of effect on weight loss, we can distinguish between cardio exercises. You burn with exercises that use more muscle groups and a lot more calories. They also ensure a greater effect on the increase in your maximum oxygen uptake capacity. In the table below you can see how many calories you burn per kilogram of body weight per hour with different cardiovascular forms.
calorie consumption cardio
Based on your weight and the duration of your cardio workout you can therefore calculate how many calories you will burn. Of course this can vary per person and this also depends on the intensity at which you exercise.
In daily life we almost cycle regularly. Yet it is also one of the best cardio exercises. By cycling we also understand other forms, such as cycling and mountain biking. When you do this at high intensity, you use a lot of energy. Mountain biking and cycling are particularly popular in the summer. However, this is a bit more injury-sensitive, so accidents happen regularly. Are you going to fitness at home on the home trainer? Then you can choose from a wide range of home trainers. From cheap entry-level models to high-end bicycles.
Running is one of the easiest and most effective cardio training sessions. You can actually run anytime, anywhere. Many runners enjoy the nature and the outdoors, but there are of course also people who prefer to train indoors. Running a boring endurance sport? Think again! You can vary endlessly with interval training sessions, sprints, Fartlek training and other tempo changes. Walking is also good for you. It is safe and you retain a lot of muscle mass. On the other hand, you also burn a lot less calories when walking. Before you start running, also read these running tips for beginners. Do you prefer not to exercise outside? Or do you also want to be able to do enough running training in the winter? Then you can use a treadmill.
We should of course not forget rowing in this list with the best cardio exercises. With rowing you use a lot of energy, because at the same time you use your upper and lower body to put strength. First you push yourself away with your legs, then you complete the movement with your upper body. This way you also grab your arms, back and shoulders. You can set the rowing machine in different ways. This way you can go for endurance training at a fixed intensity. It is also possible to do a short and heavy cardio workout, with which you burn extra fat. Interval training is of course also an option. You then vary in tempo and resistance. You will find a rowing machine in almost every gym. Do you have your own home gym? Then you can purchase a rowing machine for cardio training.
Finally, I want to close this article about the best cardio exercises for fat loss with spinning. Spinning is very popular as a group lesson and is offered in many gyms. Of course it looks a bit like cycling, but because you are working in groups you can motivate each other even more. Often a lesson is given with interval training tailored to music. You can also easily increase or decrease the resistance on the spinning bike. For example, you kick some parts of the lesson very hard, while other parts have a lighter resistance but you have to sprint full body. In this way you increase the heart rate enormously and you will burn a lot of calories. Do you not have a gym subscription, but you still want to spin? Nowadays you can also put your own spinning bike at home.
Elliptical cross trainer
The elliptical trainer has in recent years developed into the most popular cardio device in the gym. Such an elliptical trainer offers many possibilities and variation. You train your lower body and upper body at the same time, so you use a lot of muscles. This way you burn more calories. In addition, you can easily adjust the intensity and even reverse training to put your muscles to work in a different way. If you put the crosstrainer really hard, you work on your muscle strength. By lightening the elliptical you can work on your speed. Do you want to train at home? Then you can also use the cross trainer. Many fitness specialist shops offer cross trainers for sale.
What do you think is the best cardio exercise?
In this blog you can read what the best cardio exercises are to lose fat. Of course in combination with a healthy diet. Personally, I think that a combination of strength training, cardio and a customized diet plan is best to become drier. I am curious which cardio training you prefer to do? Let us know in a comment!
By S.van der Tap Pd.Internet Marketer Founder Of digitalstico.com
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