Do you go to the gym and do long sessions of cardio? or do you prefer HIIT?
Many of us think of cardio as the best tool to lose fat which is not exactly right and we tend to forget all the amazing benefits it has for our health.
We all know that cardio helps us improve our endurance and overall fitness level it help us get in shape and stay in shape. Daily physical activity is important, if we want to be healthy we need to exercise our heart and brain we´ll thank us for doing it and we´ll feel a lot better every single day. Most of us do not get the amount of exercise recommend which is between 120 to 150 minutes per week, if we divide those 150 minutes into 7 it´s around 20 minutes daily we can all schedule 20 minutes every day to do some physical activity it can be as simple as taking a walk if we´re starting.
Some diseases and health issues had increased in the past years, the less we move and more sedentary we become the more health problems we face, it´s not only about obesity and overweight also depression, anxiety, alzheimer, cardiovascular diseases are also related to a lack of exercise.
It blows my mind how we do not prioritize our health until it´s too late, until we feel bad or realize that something is wrong so we go to the doctor and take some pills hoping to get better which actually only treat the symptom but we got everything in our hands and we can prevent many health problems just by changing our lifestyle.
Doing some exercise for at least 20 minutes every day has a lot of amazing benefits which include improving our mood, keeps our brain healthy and avoid the risk of dementia, parkinson, azlheimer, studies show that cardio reduces decline in brain functioning and increase the growth of brain cells, it improves memory, it helps with depression and anxiety and we can get some of those benefits right after we´re working out and when we´re done like improving our mood, we feel a lot better when we finish and if we do it consistently we get the benefits in the long run.
Cardiovascular exercise is great for our heart it increases blood and oxygen flow throughout the body, we cannot forget that our heart is a muscle. It helps lower blood pressure, it increases oxygen in the muscles which helps them recover and work harder.
Cardio is a great tool to help us lose fat, get lean and stay lean if we use it correctly, it may not be the best option but it help us achieve our goals faster. If we go to a gym we´ll see most people on the treadmill, bicycles or other cardio machines doing long and boring sessions, this type of cardio workouts are called steady state where we go for at least 30 minutes usually from 45 to 60 minutes at a low to moderate intensity depending of our level for the entire time.
Another type of cardio is HIIT (high intensity interval training) this means that we do an exercise for example sprints for 10 to 30 seconds as hard as we can and we rest for 30 to 60 seconds and we repeat it for several times.
Studies show that HIIT burns more fat than steady state cardio and there are studies that show that HIIT can also increase lean muscle mass so if we consider this studies HIIT is the best option for fat loss and to stay lean.
So how does HIIT help you burn more calories than traditional steady state cardio? The answer is EPOC. Actually if we compare the calories burn on each type of exercise (HIIT and steady state) we´ll see that we burn more calories with steady than with HIIT, but the benefits of HIIT come after we are done with our workout. Once we´ve finished our HIIT session our body´s metabolism stays high burning more calories for some period of time, this is called excess-post- oxygen consumption. It´s the amount of oxygen your body needs to get back to normal.
Doing some physical activity is important at least 5 days a week, HIIT is a great option or doing 20 minutes of an intense session is also great, if you´re starting you need to start small, going for a walk at least 5 minutes at your own pace and start increasing the intensity and time, it needs to be challenging so stop what you´re doing and go for a walk.
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