Does cardio kill your gains? The idea that cardiovascular exercise impedes your ability to build muscle is a long-held…shall we say, rumor in the fitness and bodybuilding community. Is it true? Should you forego your running routine and focus only on that sweet, sweet lifting regimen? 🏋️♂️
👨🏫 These are serious questions. However, as luck would have it, our trusty friend Beau is here to deliver some serious answers. There’s more to cardio than meets the eye!
🎥 Watch as Beau explains the optimal way to balance your exercise between cardiovascular and resistance training, how your diet influences your results, and what to avoid when crafting your exercise journey.
📽️Watch to learn more!
Cardiovascular exercise is exercise that gets your heart rate up. Though some people use it solely for weight loss, cardio has other benefits as well. Read on to learn more about what this type of exercise is, the benefits it offers, and how to create a safe and effective cardiovascular routine.
What Is Cardio?
Cardio exercise, which is sometimes referred to as aerobic exercise, is any rhythmic activity that raises your heart rate into your target heart rate zone. This is the zone where you burn the most fat and calories.
Part of what sets cardio apart from other types of exercise—such as strength training—is that it relies on your body’s ability to use oxygen during the workout session. A person’s cardio ability or capacity can vary based on a number of factors.
Research published by the American Heart Association reports that genetics have a 20% to 40% influence over what you can do cardio-wise.1 Also, females tend to have a 25% lower cardio capacity than males and, for both sexes, this capacity tends to decline with age.
This is not to say that your genes, sex, or age will prevent you from improving your cardiovascular health. But it does help to know that there are many factors that can influence how (and how well) your body responds to cardio exercise.
Benefits of Cardio
There are very few activities you can do for a short period of time that have all of the physical and mental health benefits that cardio exercise offers. Some of the known benefits of cardio include:
- Burns fat and calories, making it easier to lose weight.
- Enhances sleep quality, especially if the exercise is moderate to vigorous in intensity.
- Expands lung capacity, or the amount of air that your lungs can hold.
- Improves your sex life by increasing your body’s ability to become aroused, improving your body image, and even potentially helping to treat medication-related sexual dysfunction.
- Increases bone density when you do weight-bearing cardio exercises like hiking or climbing stairs.
- Lowers stress, in part by improving your ability to cope with issues in a positive way.
- Promotes feeling good, and can even help relieve depression5 and anxiety.
- Improves confidence in how you look and feel.
- Reduces risk of heart attack, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, and some forms of cancer.
- Sets a good example for those around you, encouraging them to exercise with you.
- Strengthens the heart so that it doesn’t have to work as hard to pump blood.
- Paige Waehner (2021, June 28). Everything You Need to Know About Cardio https://www.verywellfit.com/everything-you-need-to-know-about-cardio-1229553