Whether you're a seasoned athlete or just starting out on your fitness journey, it's easy to get sucked into believing some of the most commonly shared cardio myths out there.
Cardiovascular exercises are essential for promoting health and well-being. These exercises can help reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke, improve your mood, boost energy levels, and even help you lose weight.
They are also a great way to get active and stay in shape. If you've researched cardio exercise, chances are you've encountered some myths and misconceptions. These myths have been perpetuated over time and can be difficult to sift through.
To help you separate fact from fiction, we've compiled a list of six common cardio myths you should not take to heart. But first, let's explore what exactly cardio is all about.
Understanding Cardio Before Debunking Common Myths
Short for "cardiovascular exercise", cardio has to do with the heart, lungs, and circulatory system.
It is any type of physical activity that increases your heart rate for an extended period of time.It's also referred to as aerobic exercise because it uses oxygen to produce energy.
Common examples include running, swimming, cycling, walking, dancing and other forms of aerobic exercise. The main goal of cardio is to strengthen the heart and improve cardiovascular fitness. When you engage in cardio, your body uses more oxygen than it does during regular activities.
This helps to strengthen your heart and lungs, as well as increase endurance. What's more, it can also help you burn more calories and fat.
Let's look at a few benefits of cardio.
Benefits of Cardio
There are countless benefits to incorporating cardio into your exercise routine. Some of them include the following:
Improved heart health
Cardio is one of the best ways to improve your heart health.
This exercise strengthens your heart muscles, helps lower blood pressure, and increases the amount of oxygen-rich blood delivered to your body. Cardio burn can also help reduce cholesterol and triglyceride levels, important for maintaining good health.
This is especially beneficial for people who are at risk of developing cardiovascular diseases.
Increased energy levels
How well are you feeling while reading this article?
Feeling a bit sluggish? Or perhaps a little overwhelmed?
Regular cardio exercise can help boost your energy levels, allowing you to tackle your daily tasks with more enthusiasm. Studies have shown that people who engage in regular cardio exercise experience fewer bouts of fatigue and improved overall energy levels throughout the day.
This is especially true for those who engage in high-intensity cardio exercises such as running or cycling.
Are you looking to lose weight?
Cardio can help with that too!
Cardiovascular exercises are among the most effective ways to burn calories and lose weight. By engaging in regular cardio, you can burn more fat, which will help you reach your desired weight.
This is especially true if you combine your cardio routine with a healthy diet.
Cardio can also have a positive effect on your mood.
After engaging in cardiovascular exercise, you'll likely feel more relaxed and happier due to the release of endorphins. This can help reduce stress and anxiety while improving your overall mental health.
What's more, improving your physical health can also boost your self-esteem and confidence. Regular cardio will help you feel better about yourself.
These are just a few of the many benefits of cardio. Despite the proven benefits, there are still some myths associated with it. Let's take a look at some of them in the following section.
Debunking Common Cardio Myths
As one of the best ways to stay fit and healthy, cardio exercises have been around for many years.
However, some myths have developed over time. Here are six of the most common myths about cardio:
Myth 1: You only need cardio
We all have friends who claim that all they do is cardio, yet somehow they manage to stay in great shape.
Just how valid is this claim?
Well, let's put it this way – cardio is a great way to get your heart rate up and burn calories, but it isn't enough.
To see the full benefits of exercise, you must combine cardio with strength and resistance training exercises. These workouts help build muscle, which can increase metabolism and help burn more calories.
What's more, it can help improve posture and balance while reducing any risk of injury.
Myth 2: Longer cardio sessions are the best way to lose weight
One of the most common cardio myths is that engaging in long bouts of cardio will help shred fat.
However, this isn't necessarily true.
While it's true that you can burn calories in a longer session, it doesn't necessarily mean that it will lead to better results. In fact, research suggests that both short and long cardio sessions lead to the same results.
While cardio can effectively burn calories and lose weight, it's not the only way. A combination of cardio and strength training is often more effective for weight loss as it helps build muscle and increase metabolism.
Myth 3: Short cardio sessions are not worth the stress
Many believe short cardio sessions are less practical than longer ones.
However, there's really no difference between the two.
Whether you are trying to lose weight or improve your cardiovascular health, short cardio sessions can still positively impact your well-being. Research suggests that even half an hour of running or jogging can help improve your cardiovascular health and reduce the risk of heart disease.
So, if you don't have time for a longer session, shorter sessions can still be beneficial.
Myth 4: Performing cardio on an empty stomach burns more fat
This is another popular cardio myth.
Some people believe that in order to burn more fat, it's best to perform cardio on an empty stomach. Their theory is that because there is no energy from food in the body, it will be forced to burn body fat for fuel.
However, this is not entirely true.
Research has shown that performing cardio on an empty stomach does not necessarily lead to more significant fat loss. In fact, it can be counterproductive as it can decrease exercise performance and cause fatigue.
So there's no need to worry if you don't have time to eat before a workout. Just make sure that you have something nutritious afterwards!
Myth 5: Cardio starts first
Another myth is that cardio should always come first when exercising.
Many believe that cardio should always be done before strength training to maximize their workout. But this is simply not true.
In fact, research suggests that it can be much more beneficial to do strength training before cardio. This allows you to use heavier weights and targets specific muscles, which can lead to better overall results.
Myth 6: You can't do cardio if you are overweight
Lastly, there is a common belief that you should not do cardio if you are overweight.
Obese people believe their bodies cannot handle cardio strain because they are overweight. However, the truth is that cardio can be beneficial for overweight people.
In fact, research suggests that it can help to reduce body fat, improve cardiovascular health and increase energy levels. Those who are overweight might need to start with low-impact exercises such as walking or swimming and work up from there, but with the right approach and guidance, anyone can become fit through cardio.
So here are some of the most common cardio myths debunked.
Now that you have the facts, you can make an informed decision about your cardio routine and get the results you're looking for. Let's dive into ways to make cardio more effective and enjoyable!
Moving Beyond Myths to Maximize Your Cardio Sessions
Moving beyond myths and maximizing your cardio sessions is vital to achieving the best results.
While understanding the truth behind common cardio myths can help, the next step is ensuring you make the most out of your cardio sessions. Here are some tips for getting the most out of your workout:
Make sure you understand the purpose of each exercise
Why are you doing cardio? Is it to lose weight or to improve your cardiovascular health? Understanding the purpose of each exercise will help you choose the right type and intensity.
If you want to lose weight, choose exercises that will burn fat calories in huge amounts. Proven exercises such as running, biking, and swimming are great options.
But if you want to improve your cardiovascular health, choose exercises that will help you increase your endurance and improve your breathing. Low-impact activities such as walking or yoga can be great for this.
It's important to know that cardio exercises are not built to bulk up your muscles, so don't expect to get ripped from doing cardio.
Are you getting the most out of your cardio sessions?
The food you put into your body can significantly impact your performance. Eating a healthy, balanced diet with plenty of lean proteins, complex carbohydrates, and healthy fats will help to fuel your workouts and give you the energy you need to get through them.
Also, feel free to replenish any lost nutrients by eating a healthy meal that contains protein, carbs, and healthy fats. Doing so will help you recover faster and get the most out of your cardio sessions.
Staying hydrated is also essential to getting the most out of your cardio session.
Dehydration can lead to fatigue, muscle cramps and even a decrease in performance. So ensure you drink enough water before, during and after your workout. You can also incorporate electrolytes into your water to replace any lost during exercise.
With a hydrated body and the right approach, you can keep your body functioning well while exercising.
Warm up properly
Warming up your body before a cardio session is just as important as stretching before any other type of exercise.
It helps to prepare your muscles and heart for the more intense workout and can reduce the risk of injury. Start with light jogging or walking for about 5 minutes, followed by dynamic stretching such as arm circles, side lunges and toe touches.
A good way to activate your muscles is to use a massage gun prior to the workout.
Start slow and gradually increase your intensity
Taking a slow and steady approach to a cardio workout is key.
We all know how pumped we can get after seeing a great workout video. But it's important to start slow and gradually increase your intensity.
This is especially true if you are new to exercise or have been inactive for some time. Starting too fast can lead to exhaustion, injury, and discouragement, preventing you from reaching your goals.
Instead, start with a low-intensity exercise like walking. Then, gradually increase the intensity as your body gets used to it. This will help you build your endurance and avoid burning out or getting injured.
Don't be afraid to mix it up
Imagine running on the same route for years. It would become quite monotonous, and you'd eventually lose motivation.
That's why it's essential to mix up your workouts. Try different exercises, join a class or even switch up the location of your workout. This will help keep things exciting while motivating you in the long run.
For example, if you usually run for 30 minutes at a moderate pace, why not switch it up and do HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) instead?
This type of exercise involves bursts of intense activity followed by rest periods and can be a great way to get the most out of your workout. They are also great for building lean muscle mass while burning fat.
Frequently Asked Questions
Still got questions after reading the article? Here are some additional questions and answers to help you better understand the benefits and risks of cardio exercise.
Is cardio necessary?
Yes, cardio is necessary for overall fitness and health.
It helps to strengthen the heart, improve blood circulation, and burn calories. It also reduces the risk of chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, and stroke. Additionally, regular cardio exercise can help to reduce stress and improve mental clarity.
While it's not essential for everyone to do cardio daily, it should be a part of your workout routine.
What happens if I ignore myths about cardio exercises?
If you ignore myths about cardio exercises, you may not be able to achieve the results you are looking for.
For example, if you believe that performing cardio on an empty stomach will burn more fat and don't eat before exercising, you may experience fatigue or decreased exercise performance.
Additionally, if you prioritize strength training over cardio, you may not get the full benefits of both types of exercise.
So there you have it – an overview of some common myths around cardio exercise and what science proves to be true.
Taking the time to understand the facts can help you make the most of your exercise routine and get the results you want. Remember, cardio is an essential part of any fitness plan and can have many health benefits. Yoga and strength training also promise great health benefits, so don't forget to find time for them!
Cardio is essential to a balanced lifestyle if practised mindfully with knowledge of the facts rather than myths surrounding it!
So make sure to include it in your regular routine and be aware of these myths, so you don't fall into traps! We hope this article has helped dispel common myths and give you a better understanding of how to make the most of your cardio workout!