Unlike other workouts, cardio gives you an endorphin high. Do you like outdoor fierce cycling, marathons, dancing classes, or any other activity that makes you sweat? Such exercises make you feel more confident, enhance your mood, and speed your heart rate. Above all, they help you burn a good number of calories to keep you physically fit and healthy. Cardio activities also improve your stamina, endurance, and cardiovascular health. It’s possibly among the best ways to help you live longer but should you do cardio every day ?
Should you do Cardio Daily?
Although cardio can be exhausting at times, it can also be addicting. That is why you will find some fanatics hitting the gym on a daily basis. Health professionals encourage people to stay active and consistently moving for the good of their wellbeing. However, it is good to find out whether cardio should have a limit.
According to Jackie Cassado, a personal trainer at Equinox, it is not recommendable to do cardio every day. This is contrary to what most people think. Citing the CDC’s recommendation of 150 minutes of moderate cardio per week, she said that taking an occasional day off is ideal for your workout routine.
Too Much Cardio Can Stall Your Weight Loss
Do you know what adrenal fatigue is? This is a condition that occurs when you exercise too much. It can take a toll on your physical goal and your health as well.
In reference to personal coach and injury prevention consultant Liz Letchford, MS, ATC, high-intensity training for an extended period can trigger adrenal fatigue. This normally happens when other stressors like poor body image, relationship issues, and work come into play.
The problem is partially caused by the stress hormone which is commonly known as cortisol. This hormone can make you accumulate fat around your waistline. Engaging in workouts that exceed your physical limits triggers a surge in cortisol levels. Liz says that this occurs when your body exhausts its ability to fight, but you continue keeping it on ‘fight or flight’ mode through high-intensity workouts for an extended period. This makes your hormones run out of balance, triggering fogginess, poor performance, fatigue, and weight gain, particularly around your waist.
After some time, you end up gaining weight. Liz says that exercising is not just about losing fat and gaining muscles. She adds that your entire central nervous system is controlled by a complicated system of hormones. Imbalances can activate serious complications.
Cardio workouts come with many health benefits. They lower blood sugar levels, cholesterol, and high blood pressure. These reduce your risk of developing chronic conditions, such as diabetes and heart disease. In addition, cardio activities burn extra calories, which lower your body fat levels. Nevertheless, limiting your routine to just cardio workouts without strength training can prevent you from achieving your fitness goals and the body physique you crave for. Doing just cardio is not a bad idea, although it is not ideal.
Incorporate Strength Training
Strength training not only helps to improve strength but also enhances balance and coordination, which make daily tasks easier. Just like cardio, it improves insulin sensitivity, cholesterol, and blood pressure, which are ideal for preventing and controlling diabetes. Additionally, strength training makes your ligaments and tendons stronger while increasing your bone density. This can lower your risk of developing osteoporosis.
Your body burns more calories during the cardio activity, but strength training increases your metabolism so that more calories are continually burned throughout the day. Your body will burn around 50 calories per day for every one pound of muscle. However, your body burns only three calories per pound of fat tissue per day. Furthermore, muscle tissues are denser than fat tissues. This means a pound of muscle will occupy less space than a pound of fat. This means you will achieve a better and well-toned physique.
It is advisable to ensure that your weekly workout routines involve both cardio and strength training. If you are a beginner to strength training, start with two days per week but not consecutively. Exercises should target your back, hamstrings, chest, arms, quadriceps, abdominals, glutes, and shoulders. According to the American College of Sports Medicine, you should perform moderate-intensity cardio for at least 30 minutes. You can gradually increase the intensity and duration of your cardio workout for continued results in aerobic endurance or fat loss.
Too Much Cardio Warning Signs
Listening to your body will help you to identify the signs that you are doing too much cardio. The following are indicators that you should cut back or slow down with your exercise:
- Feeling fatigued the entire day
- Difficulties sleeping or feeling not well rested even after sleeping for more than 8 hours a night
- Diminished physical performance
- Your body fat drops below healthy levels for your height
- Difficulties recovering from workout sessions
- Changes in menstrual cycle for women
- Experience an overuse injury like a broken bone, fracture, or other chronic pain.