In this mechanised world, people do not indulge in good physical activities which, in turn has led to so many diseases especially the heart diseases. For this reason the young generation has started indulging in sports activities, working out in the gym and doing cardio workouts.
In the hectic lifestyle many do not prefer pumping iron and start doing cardio. Especially the ladies start working out prioritising the cardio. So in this article I will be dealing explicitly with cardio workouts.
Running is an excellent cardio exercise enjoyed by most of the people, especially the youngsters. Why? It’s because, running in the early morning in the fresh air is very refreshing and it also ushers you to the opportunity of admiring the morning beauty of the nature. Moreover it fastens your weight loss program by burning a huge number of calories.
Speed walking is an alternative to the running chosen by some group of people who find it difficult to run either because of their old age or knee health or over weight.
There are a lot of modern equipment available today which help us doing the cardio indoor and out door. And for the summer, undoubtedly the best option would be swimming.

Why cardio?

Here I will outline some of the benefits of cardio which will convince you to take up cardio activity regularly.

• It can burn a lot of calories
• Can raise metabolic rate
• Improves heart function
• Decreases the risk of heart disease
• Decreases the risk of osteoporosis
• Increases bone density
• Reduced stress
• Temporary relief from depression and anxiety
• Better sleep
• Setting up a better example for your kids

Different approaches to Cardio workout

Let us analyse the different approaches to Cardio training.

Low Intensity Cardio

Low intensity cardio is the most popular kind of cardio and is suggested by most of the personal trainers all around the world. Low intensity cardio directly targets body-fat and that why it is so famous. University studies have proved that Low Intensity – Long duration cardio (LI/LD) burns fat for energy during the workout instead of pulling the energy from the muscles and the glycogen stores. That’s good news for bodybuilders who do not want to lose hard earned muscles and want to lower their body-fat percentage. Most of the bodybuilders prefer multi split low intensity cardio while getting ready for shows.
However the only drawback of Low intensity / Long duration cardio is that it takes about 10 minutes for the person performing the cardio to reach his ideal heart rate. Then he can maintain his ideal heart rate for about 20-30 minutes.

High Intensity Cardio

This form of cardio is least utilised. This requires pushing past your pain barriers, so very few people utilise this form of cardio. The High Intensity – Short Duration Cardio (HI/SD) can be of great help in burning fat if done properly. The total calories burnt in High intensity cardio are more compared to the Low intensity cardio. The energy required for the cardio is obtained from the fat reserves and the glycogen storage within the muscles. When we burn more calories in our cardio workout than what we expend, then we set up a strong environment for fat loss and weight loss.

HIIT

The Low intensity cardio activity can be boring at times, and the High intensity cardio can be very taxing on the body at times. So a powerful method of doing cardio evolved – High Intensity Interval Training.
This involves performing high intensity cardio for some time and then returning to low intensity cardio and then again going back to high intensity cardio again.
For example, let us consider a person doing treadmill workout for cardio.
This is how his typical HIIT cardio will look like
5 minutes – Warm up
1 minute – Running (High intensity)
2 minutes – Walking (Low intensity activity – Recovery time)
1 minute – Running
2 minutes – Walking
1 minute – Running
2 minutes – Walking
1 minute – Running
2 minutes – Walking
1 minute – Running
2 minutes – Walking
1 minute – Running
2 minutes – Walking
1 minute – Running
2 minutes – Walking
3 minutes – Cool down

While performing HIIT you are allowed to bring in your innovations of combining multiple cardio activities into play, like – cross trainer for high intensity activity and cycling for low intensity activity and make your workouts more interesting. And the timing provided in the above chart do not form concrete rules of HIIT and the timings of High intensity and Low intensity cardio can be adjusted based on personal comfort zone.

The Inclination Training

Running uphill, climbing stairs, walking on a treadmill with inclination etc are all examples of inclination training cardio.
So what is so special about the Inclination cardio? It can be answered in two folds.
Inclination training burns more calories compared to normal cardio. For example let us consider a person weighing 150 lbs walking on a treadmill at 4 mph. He would burn 145 calories in 30 minutes. Keeping the same 4 mph speed if the person is made to walk on a 5% grade increase on the inclination of the treadmill, the person would burn 243 calories. To make things clear, that is a whopping 60% increase in the amount of calories burnt.
One more important benefit of the inclination training is that it also helps in toning the butt and hamstring muscles. That’s good news for ladies looking to make their butt and thigh more toned for tighter outfit. A poll conducted by American Council on Exercise (ACE) in the year 1997. People were asked – what exercise best worked their buttocks. No.1 was squats, No.2 was lunges and No.3 was walking uphill. So if you are looking for toned butt and thighs or if you are a bodybuilder looking for ripped striated gluteus then inclination/uphill training is your best bet.

Though one aerobic activity may sound promising than the other, sticking onto the same aerobic activity can make you bored and thus reduce the effects of your cardio workout. So the key is to constantly add variety to your cardio workout by adding different cardio exercises into the regime and varying the intensity levels and the inclination.

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