Before we get into it, I just need to say, I will NEVER tell you NOT to work out. Ever. Ever. Ever. But I will correct you if you misapply why we do, what we do. Fair?
To level set, let’s start with defining what cardio is. Cardio, is short for cardiovascular. Cardio meaning heart. Vascular refers to arteries, veins and capillaries or in broader terms, your circulatory system. When you do any type of cardio exercise, you are providing direct benefit to your heart and lungs.
When people set out to lose weight, 99% of the time, they immediately think “I need to work out” and by workout they typically mean some form of cardio training – running, cycling, swimming. That brings me to Myth #1. Cardio is a requirement in order to lose weight. The reality is when you go from a sedentary lifestyle to running 5K’s every other day, sure, you will likely see a difference in your weight. But you can also lose weight without working out at all. Remember the reason we do cardio is to challenge and strengthen our heart and lungs. So while we are burning calories by engaging in cardio training, that’s a side benefit. Not the main benefit.
When we engage in cardio training some really great things happen in our bodies. Namely we produce serotonin, the feel good hormone and we release some much needed stress. We strengthen our hearts and lungs which then increases their capacity to take in oxygen, pump blood and expel carbon dioxide. We lower our resting heart rate, which helps to reduce stress and keep cortisol levels in check. But for the majority of humans, cardio is only running, swimming or cycling and that’s good old Myth #2. In fact, at this time of year, we have built-in cardio and we may not even realize it! Shoveling snow is in fact cardio exercise, and a good one if you are able to do so. Walking, jogging, climbing stairs, kickboxing, and snowball fights are also great ways to increase your heart rate. Or, my personal favorite –HiiT workouts. They are short, effective and there is no shortage of ways to design a great HiiT workout. Perfect for those of us who need variety in our day!
Myth #3 really comes down to time. You must do a minimum of 60 minutes of cardio in order for it to have any benefit on the body. Silly, silly, silly. I don’t know WHO came up with that but you can get a KILLER workout in, in as little as 10-15 minutes that will have you screaming for mommy. The timeframe is really up to you, and honestly it comes down to personal preference. Whatever you choose, you need to make sure you switch it up from time to time because what isn’t a myth about the body is that it WILL get used to the same routine over and over again. And once it does, it doesn’t have to work as hard to complete the task which means you aren’t challenging it enough. So switch it up, keep it fun and as always let me know how I can help. Some of my clients will tell you they’ve called me mommy before.