Is Cardio a Waste of time?
Do I need to do Cardio to lose weight or be fit?
Do I need to run to be in shape?
First of all, I am a runner. I love it…love the sport and love running for my mental and physical fitness. However, I know it is a waste of time and I often get the opposite results I am looking for when I am running too much. I often get friends saying, “I am going to try running” or “If only I was a runner..”. Well, I am here to tell you that when my miles are increasing for a marathon, it is actually harder for me to reach my physical and weight loss goals and I often need to add in extra weight training days to bring about any type of result I can see and feel.
So, for all of you wondering if you NEED to do cardio, here’s the short answer. You do not need to be spending time on a treadmill or elliptical, however, there are many reasons why cardiovascular exercise is super important.
- It strengthens your heart!
- It promotes metabolic waste removal!
- It is good for your blood pressure and cardiac output!
- It allows muscles to adapt to an increased workload!
- It boosts your mood and releases endorphins to give you energy!
There are many other reasons but here is the deal….”Cardio exercise is any exercise that raises your heart rate” as defined by Healthstatus.com.
So think about it…..can walking be cardio? Absolutely.
Can parenting be considered cardio? Hell YES!!!
Can shopping be cardio? Yes.
If you work a desk job or sit all day, then you need to find a way to get up and get moving. On the flip side, if you are a parent chasing your kiddo around, do you really need to spend a lot of time at the gym stair-mastering away? Probably not. Phew! Sigh of relief here guys! For generations, we’ve literally succumbed to the idea that cardio = weight loss = results and this is NOT often true for most people! Another sigh of relief!
If you are looking for the most effective way to change up your activity that benefits your body, then you need to build muscle by doing weight bearing exercise. To turn ON your tissues to be metabolically active, you will need to LIFT things! You can also just lift YOU! You can get an amazing an effective workout with your own body weight doing exercises like lunges, squats, push-ups, etc. without even going to the gym. If the gym scene is not your thing, then this is great news for you! J
Here is a personal example: when it’s summer/fall and I am at my peek marathon training logging many miles a week, the results and changes in my body don’t come as quickly as compared to when I am doing shorter workouts and lifting heavier things with strength training during the winter. I still sweat and get my heart rate up when lifting weights and I am sweaty no matter if it is 15-20 minutes or 45-60 minutes. The point is, don’t get hung up on thinking that you need to be putting in long hours in a gym to see results. And you most definitely don’t need to run to change your body in positive ways.
I often get asked what to do if you only have 20-30 minutes of time to exercise. My favorite answer is “what do you love to do?” Is it swimming? Yoga? Pilates? Dance? Spin class? What do you love? If you are looking to lose fat and build muscle, then you need to add in strength training (body weight counts!) of some sort and just stay consistent. As I said earlier, being a mom can sure count as cardio activity many days and then add in your 20-30 minutes of strength training. Focus on your nutrition, don’t complicate things and you are surely on the right track to increasing optimal health and wellness for a lifetime.
If it makes you happy to run or you need some time on the bike or stairmill to feel free and for the endorphin release, then by all means…do it! I LOVE to run and it is something my body and mind crave, but when I am in marathon training mode… I often need to add in a second workout for the day to do strength to maintain my muscles to SEE the results I am looking for. The main reason I am writing this is because many moms and friends ask me why they aren’t seeing results when they are running or doing cardio 4 times a week. If this resonates with you at all then definitely try adding in some strength training! I would be happy to help you with ideas, effective exercises and simple nutrition to get you the results you are after!
~ Jill Hotujec