Cardio workouts are fundamental if you want to lose weight or improve overall fitness. They’ll help get your body into shape and burn fat.
There are general recommendations for how much cardio exercise we should get every week. Unfortunately, many don’t understand the guidelines and how they apply to themselves specifically.
But, before you begin any cardio regimen, check with your doctor first if you have other health issues that you need to consider.
Please keep in mind these are just guidelines; the actual time you spend on cardio workouts depends on your fitness level. If you haven’t done cardio workouts before, you should take it slow in the beginning.
This article will cover some basics to get you started. Let’s begin.
How Long Should Your Cardio Workouts Last?
Experts recommend that every person get a minimum of 30 minutes of cardiovascular exercise 3 to 5 times a week. But, if you’re not ready for that amount of activity, don’t do it. It’s best if you start slowly to prepare your body for longer durations.
If you’re beginning to exercise, start by doing some low-impact exercises a few times a week for as long as you are comfortable. If this is only 10 or 15 minutes, that’s fine.
Once you feel that you are getting fitter, aim for 30 minutes a day. You can alternate days at first, then increase this to every day once you feel ready for it.
The 30 minutes does not have to come from a single session. According to your schedule and preference, you can break it up into two 15-minute sessions or three 10-minute sessions.
You can also increase the intensity at this point if you feel your body can handle it. However, remember not to jump into high-impact workouts without adequately conditioning your body first.
If you are exercising for weight loss, increasing the duration of your cardio workouts would be best. A more extended workout session means 45 to 60 minutes of cardio a day, at least 3 to 5 times a week.
Again, you do not need to complete a 30-minute workout in a single session.
No matter your workout’s duration, it’s always important to remember a few things when doing your cardio.
1. Spend at least 5 to 10 minutes of the session warming up for your workout to get your body prepared for the hard work ahead.
2. Be sure to wear comfortable clothes and shoes.
3. Stay hydrated before, during, and after your workout sessions.
How to Warm Up Before a Cardio Workout
Many people don’t warm up before they undertake cardio exercise; this is a mistake. Don’t be tempted to jump into high-intensity workouts immediately.
Why Warm Up?
Warming up your body before a cardio workout serves many purposes, including:
1. Redirect blood flow from the organs in your body to your muscles to help muscle movement and flexibility.
2. Prepare your mind for the higher intensity activity after the warm-up.
3. Increase your heart rate gradually instead of suddenly. A sudden increase in heart rate can cause dizziness and other unpleasant sensations during the workout.
4. Increase the flexibility of connecting joints, tendons, and tissues.
In short, warming up is extremely important and should never be skipped as it may lead to injury. It may impair your ability to work out for days or even months, depending on the extent of the injury.
How Do You Warm Up?
For cardio workouts, warming up is easy. You do whatever you plan to do for your cardio workout at a low intensity. For example, if you cycle to get your dose of cardio exercise, then cycle slowly to warm up.
You want to increase your heart rate before your workout gradually. Ideally, a warm-up should be done for 5 to 10 minutes, followed immediately by the cardio exercise of your choice.
Lots of people wonder if they should stretch as a form of warm-up before a cardio workout. Some experts recommend stretching after the workout session during the cool-down period.
However, it’s okay to do some light stretching if you feel tight or knotted in some areas, such as your ankles, back, and hips. After all, if you don’t stretch when your body needs you to, you will feel uncomfortable throughout the workout.
Now you know the importance of warming up before your cardio workout and how to do it properly. Implement a warm-up routine before each cardio workout.
An extra 10 minutes spent warming up can go a long way in making your workout a more successful one and preventing injuries.
How to Cool Down After a Cardio Workout
Cooling down is a must-do at the end of every workout session. The purpose of cooling down is to get the body into its normal, stable condition after vigorous exertion.
A cool-down session should be at least 5 to 10 minutes, longer if the workout has been an especially tough one.
The first step to take when cooling down is to gradually reduce the intensity of the exercise you are already doing until you reach a complete stop.
If you’ve been walking, running, cycling, or so on, slow down and take deep breaths as you do so. This slowing down will help your heart rate return to normal.
Some exercise machines have a “cool down” function you can use; it will gradually decrease the intensity for you.
After your exercise session has come to a complete stop, it’s time to stretch out those muscles. After exercise, your muscles are more elastic. Stretching them out will increase muscle flexibility and release the tension built up during exercise.
Stretching should be done for at least 5 to 10 minutes for optimum benefit, with more being better. Stretch out the major muscles in your legs, back, neck and arms. Those are the muscles used the most when you were working out.
The last step to effectively cooling down is to rehydrate your body. Exercise uses up your body’s water supply. Replenishing this water supply is essential to reduce your body temperature and decrease muscle soreness.
The amount of water you should drink depends on your body weight and how hard you’ve exerted yourself, so you have to be the judge.
Additional steps you can take to cool down include drinking a protein shake after your workout to replenish the muscle’s supply of nutrients. And lightly massaging the muscles you have worked out helps to reduce discomfort from muscle soreness.
Properly cooling down may not seem important, but it’s a must if you’re going to exercise. Cooling down will help you make the most of your workout and be ready to go the next day!
Ease into any exercise regimen, whether cardio workouts or strength training, when you’re beginning.
Keep in mind the importance of warming up and cooling down before and after each session.
The goal is to get fit and strong, not create preventable injuries. You want to look forward to your workout sessions, not dread them or think of them as a necessary evil.
Think of your workouts as your new best friend you meet up with several times a week, and you’ll get into shape in no time. Have fun!
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