Cardio is any form of exercise that elevates your heart rate, improving blood circulation and contributing to overall health.
It’s a crucial component of overall health but contrary to popular belief, is not very effective for weight-fat loss. Calorie trackers tend to over-estimate calorie burn and you can’t rely on this metric. Also, cardio can be exhausting and can increase appetite which defeats the purpose. It can also tire you out so that you move less the rest of the day which means less calories are burned after the cardio session.
It’s complicated but the bottom line is not to rely on cardio for weights or fat loss because the effect is relatively small. Strength training and eating in a calorie deficit is the way to lose fat - with limited cardio sprinkled in.
The science on this is indisputable and there is a huge amount of evidence supporting this.
Lastly, cardio doesn’t have to involve gym treadmills, or bikes or machines.
It can be a brisk walk around the neighbourhood. It can be a sport or activity like swimming or like padel, the fastest growing sport in the country. Anything that elevates your heart rate over time can be considered cardio. Time periods are usually 20 - 60 minutes but if you can only do 10 minutes to start then you are on the road to better health.
BENEFITS OF cardio conditioning
A healthy and resilient heart
Increased vitality and longevity
Increased endurance, stamina and overall physical performance
Lower risk of chronic diseases - diabetes, high blood pressure or cancer
Stress relief and mood enhancement. The endorphin rush after a cardio session helps with stress, enhances mood and boosts overall mental health
Contributes to weight loss