Cardio, a word people either love or hate. Whilst it is a popular and effective form of exercise in the fitness industry, we want to share with you why cardio is not always best, contrary to many beliefs.
Of course, cardio has many benefits to a persons health. Cardio improves cardiovascular health, creating stronger lung and heart function by increased circulation of blood around to the muscles. The right amount of cardio for YOUR body is also beneficial in aiding weight loss and weight management. It also improves bone density, helps build stronger muscles, can relieve stress and anxiety and aid a better sleep.
With all these amazing benefits, it is hard to understand why cardio is not always best. Firstly, everybody’s body is different and has individualised needs,needs for food and movement included. Different styles of movement may differ for each person.
The body is smart and prolonged period of excessive cardio will lead to the body adapting to this type of exercise. Once you stop or reduce cardio exercises, your metabolism returns to its normal state, forcing you to do an excessive amount of cardio to see any result in fat or weight loss.
Overtime, cardio can lead to a loss of lean muscle mass. This becomes problematic because any loss in muscle mass leads to a decline in metabolism, halting weight loss.
Too much cardio can also increase hunger signals, causing you to eat more foods, typically high in sugar and fat. Prolonging this behaviour can lead to weight gain.
If you are engaging in calorie restriction whilst doing cardio this can lead to weight battles, seeing the number fluctuate heavily.
Excessive cardio can lead to an excess of cortisol production in the body. Cortisol is released excessively when the body is under great stress. Engaging in cardio whilst having an excess of cortisol in your system can lead to weight gain particularly around the stomach region. Increased cortisol leads to your stressed body turning to muscle stores as a source of energy, therefore, losing fat is harder. High levels of cortisol also impacts the release of hormones, especially the release of hormones that regulate hunger. These hormones cause hunger levels to rise and cravings of sugary foods increase. This is an important reason as to why cardio is not always best.
Everyone has differing amounts of cardio that benefits their own body type. Surprisingly, shorter bursts of cardio or high intensity interval training (HIIT) is often better than continuous moderate cardio. HIIT benefits the cardiovascular system and improves metabolic functioning. Regular HIIT workouts as short as 10 minutes can benefit your fitness immensely.
Whilst cardio is important and beneficial, it is not always best, particularly with goals of weight loss. It is vital for your health and body to have balance and stability. Balance out cardio with strength training such as bodyweight exercises and restorative practises such as yoga. This can be really beneficial to your health, ensuring you are gaining the maximum benefits from exercise and not over stimulating the adrenal system, which can also lead to weight gain.
If you would like to learn more about the best balance and types of exercise for YOUR body, feel free to book in for a holistic consult in The BareVitality Studio!!
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- cardio, fitness