How Much Cardio Is Enough?
The dreaded cardio routine. One of the most important activities that everyone needs in their workout schedule, but very few people actually pencil it in. And out of the ones who do, many don’t reap the full benefits of having a cardio routine. Because they’re either not doing it enough or at too low of an intensity. So, what activities should you be doing and how long should you do them for?
If you’re new to the fitness world, cardio is an activity that raises your breathing and heart rate to the extent that it improves your heart, lung, and circulatory health. Activities include jumping rope, running, cycling, swimming, boxing, and any other activity that strains your system for a period of time. Duration and intensity are important to distinguish and identify when choosing your cardio routine for the day. One example is that you can engage your aerobic system by spending a minimum of 30 minutes in a low to a mid-intensity activity like jogging. Or you can travel to the other side of the spectrum and engage your anaerobic system by performing an activity like sprinting, which is a short duration high-intensity exercise. And having a healthy mix of both is going to work out best for everyone.
But how long should YOU be doing it? Well, it depends on what you want to do. Do you just want to say you ran today, or do you want to improve your cardiovascular system? Clearly, you only need to run half a mile to say you ran… if that. But what if you wanted to reduce arterial stiffness? Aka, lower the strain on your heart, reduce blood pressure, and hopefully save you from many diseases and the possibility of a heart attack?
“If you’re looking to reap the full benefits of a cardio routine, then you need to spend no less than 30 minutes a day, four to five days a week.”
Yes, this is all possible with spending time doing cardio. And to answer how long you should be doing it, let’s take a look at a recently done study. Thankfully, some well to do researchers studied over 100 people who were over 60 years of age. Within this group, they had sedentary subjects, moderate exercisers, and those go-getters who’ve been exercising six days a week for nearly their entire lives. What did they find? They found that the sedentary participants had significantly more arterial stiffness and higher blood pressures than the moderate to high exercisers. Showing clear evidence against the idea that cardio is not important. And the moderate to intense exercisers showed that if you’re looking to reap the full benefits of a cardio routine, then you need to spend no less than 30 minutes a day, four to five days a week. That’s the duration that you should aim for when configuring your workout schedule.
There’s also a kicker to this. This isn’t a game show or some weight loss challenge to where you do this for a few months and then move on with your life. Not at all. This requirement or recommendation is for a lifetime. There’s no getting away from it. Cardio is scientifically proven to be necessary for our bodies. If you want to be healthy, and the good news is that we know how long we should be doing it for, we know the frequency per week, we have nearly endless activities to choose from, and for most of us, we have the free time to do it. It all comes down to finding the time and instilling the discipline to do it, which comes easier when you have a good reason. Hopefully, this article gave you that reason.
Thanks for tuning in, and good luck.