Cardio is like a pumpkin spice latte: you either love it or you hate it. For some, cardio is the easy part of their workout routine, or running is their passion. For others, cardio is one of the dreaded c words. Many will try to avoid doing as much cardio as possible by excusing their household cleaning chores and their daily flight of stairs as their cardio for the day! However, cardio doesn’t need to be difficult, nor does it need to be a chore. We’ve found the ultimate do’s and don’ts of cardio training, that you should consider before planning your next workout so that you can maximize your time spent exercising and meet your fitness goals.
Don’t Do One Type of Cardio
It’s no surprise that you’re bored of doing cardio if you’re sticking to the same cross-fit machine, or forcing yourself to run outside in the rain when you really don’t enjoy it. Of course, you shouldn’t skip cardio altogether, but do mix up your training routines with cardio workouts that you enjoy! This doesn’t have to be traditional forms of cardio, as cardio involves any form of exercise where you can get your heart pumping, such as skipping, power-walking and cycling.
Not only is the same form of exercise boring, but our bodies actually get used to the same activities if we do them long enough. Therefore, your results become limited as your body plateaus from adjusting to the same cardio that you do on a regular basis.
Don’t Do Cardio Without a Warm-Up
It is absolutely essential to warm-up and cool-down after any workout, no matter how small or ‘light’ you believe the exercise to be! It’s also important to choose the right pre workout for you, which can be found through researching online or hiring a personal trainer. A warm-up helps you to transition from rest to movement, so that you gradually increase your body temperature and heart rate to prepare for the workout ahead. Similarly, stretching after cardio, like a pre-workout, means that you relieve tension in your muscles and reduce the chance of muscle stiffness.
Don’t Focus Solely On Cardio
A good workout involves a mixture of cardio and strength training, not just cardio! Cardio can only take you and your fitness goals so far as strength training is important for building up the muscles that you need to push yourself to take your exercise and body to new and higher levels. Additionally, regular weight training helps your body to become tighter, and by building muscle, your body will burn more calories at rest. This muscle is built and sculpted through strength training exercises and not only cardio. Yet, cardio is needed to keep your cardiovascular system in good shape, which is essential to carrying out strength training exercises. The two work together!
Don’t Focus On Numbers
While having goals and personal bests can serve as motivation to push you further, these numbers can actually work to your detriment if you become too obsessed by them! You should move to feel good, enjoy yourself and to look after your body, otherwise any exercise plan that you have will be unsustainable if you do not focus on the right motivations.
Most importantly, don’t overdo it! You should incorporate rest days within your workout routines, so that your body has time to recover and repair. Without rest days, you could overwork your body and damage your muscles, which will mean you have to take a longer amount of time off exercising. Remember these do’s and don’ts the next time you work out to ensure you look after your body.