An activity that strengthens the heart and helps to stay healthy
Whether in the field of sports (training for example) or fitness (weight loss, slimming, keeping in shape), cardio-training is often mentioned. But what exactly is it, why practice it and how? Here are some explanations.
What is cardio-training?
Cardio-training (literally “training the heart”) is a group of fitness activities that involve the heart muscle in order to train it for exercise and thus strengthen the cardiovascular and cardiorespiratory systems. Running, cycling, swimming, rowing, stepping or Zumba are all cardio-training activities.
For a cardio instructional course to be essentially as compelling as could really be expected, it is important to control the power of the work delivered by the competitor. This is generally done using the heart rate. The duration of the effort and the intensity (which can be variable) of the cardio-training session is adjusted according to the objective to be achieved: specific training, fat loss, etc. It is therefore that cardio-preparing is frequently rehearsed inside, on alleged ergometric machines (for example replicating the developments of a given game: paddling, running, cycling, and so forth) and furnished with a pulse screen to make this control simpler.
Why practice cardio training?
There are many good reasons to practice cardio-training! First of all, this activity is good for your health, especially for your heart, but also for your morale. It also helps to increase endurance and improve sports performance, to build muscle, to lose fat and therefore to lose weight. It helps to stay in shape.
Cardio-training is good for your health
Cardio-training helps prevent cardiovascular disease. Indeed, it strengthens the heart and promotes the loss of fat, especially visceral fat. It strengthens the arteries and vessels, which can then dilate or contract as needed, thus reducing the risk of high blood pressure and heart attacks.
Practicing cardio-training helps fight infections and viruses. It also improves coordination and reflexes, thus helping to prevent falls.
Finally, doing cardio-training acts against depression by improving morale and increasing self-esteem. It is also a good way to relax after a busy day at work.
Did you know that?
Without regular physical activity, a sedentary person’s risk of heart disease is multiplied by 2.
Cardio training helps you lose weight
Cardio-training has two effects that promote fat loss:
- It increases muscle mass, which has the effect of increasing the basal metabolism, that is to say the energy expenditure of the body to ensure vital functions. Muscles are indeed energy-hungry. The bigger they are, the more energy they consume, therefore fat, even at rest!
- It increases the metabolism linked to the activity: during your cardio-training session, you consume calories including fat. Moreover, this expenditure does not stop immediately after the effort: the metabolism remains high immediately afterwards and can take several hours to return to its normal level. During this time, fat continues to be eliminated!
By regularly practicing a cardio training session at moderate intensity, you will lose body fat and refine your figure (see how to lose fat by training at low intensity). Some studies have also shown that high intensity interval training can be even more effective for fat loss ( to see : Cardiovascular Effects and Benefits of Exercise and The (Many) Benefits of a Cardio Workout ).
Practicing cardio-training improves endurance and performance
Cardio-training is one of the activities that improve athletic endurance, i.e. the ability to maintain a given intensity of effort over time. Training the heart strengthens the heart muscle and develops its ability to provide the volume of oxygen necessary for the muscles to function (see what VO2max is and how to measure it to evaluate performance). The more the heart is trained, the higher the intensity of the efforts produced can be. Overall, sports performance is improved.
5 reasons why cardio is mandatory
Cardio training is a sport activity that can be practiced in addition to a sport activity such as weight training or alone for fun or otherwise. However, cardio is not mandatory but can be a real asset to help you progress in weight training or in another physical activity. In weight training, cardio is often associated with dieting or lean periods because it is an activity that allows you to burn extra calories in addition to weight training. Cardio not only has this advantage but can be essential to help you reach your physical and athletic goals.
It is possible to do cardio by practicing several activities of your choice: in the gym, you can ride a bike, rower, stepper, mat or any other machine that allows you to sweat and build muscle at the same time! You can also practice outdoors with running or cycling for example! The most important thing in your cardio-training activity is to get your heart rate up in order to burn a maximum of calories in a minimum amount of time while having fun!
In this article, we will look at the 5 reasons why cardio is mandatory or even essential to help you progress in bodybuilding without losing your hard-earned muscle mass during training!
1. Cardio for fat loss
Cardio is often practiced by people who want to lose fat and weight because it allows you to burn calories. In a lean period, your caloric expenditure must be greater than your caloric intake and the easiest way to do this is to add cardio to your workouts to increase your expenditure. You can also lower your calories in your diet but for obvious reasons of health and muscle mass, you will not be able to lower your calories after a certain point.
However, during a dry period, your body is much more tired than usual and adding a cardio-training activity can considerably increase your fatigue. You will have to manage this well in order not to miss your lean period and lose a lot of muscle!
It will be important to ensure that you have a sufficient amount of calories in your diet with a good distribution of your macronutrients before adding cardio to your workouts to lose fat and weight!
2. Cardio is good for your health
Cardio is considered a sport activity that is good for your heart health but also for your morale. It strengthens the heart, prevents cardiovascular disease and strengthens the arteries, thus reducing the risk of high blood pressure and heart attacks. By practicing cardio, you will be able to improve your reflexes, lose excess body fat and help you fight against daily depression! Cardio has real advantages that should not be overlooked and practicing it is really good for your health in general!
3. Cardio increases your metabolism
When doing cardio, your body and muscles will consume carbohydrates and fats that will make you lose weight and even after a few hours after the session, your metabolism will remain active and continue to burn calories! So, during this time, fat continues to be eliminated! To burn even more calories after your cardio session, it is recommended that you do a split or HIIT workout instead of a low or moderate intensity cardio session.
4. Cardio improves athletic endurance
When you do a cardio workout, you will maintain an intensity of effort over time and this will strengthen your heart. This is because the workout helps the heart to strengthen the heart muscle, increasing the oxygen resources needed for the muscles to function properly.
When you practice weight training, you will be able to have more endurance and performance between your series of exercises and you will be less tired. Cardio has real benefits for sports in general.
5. Cardio increases your muscle mass
As seen previously, cardio will promote metabolism and therefore help you consume more calories for the proper functioning of your vital organs. The bigger your muscles are, the more energy you will burn and the more fat you will burn. Cardio training can help you lose fat mass in favor of your muscle mass. For this, it will be important to focus on a healthy and balanced diet with a good distribution of your macronutrients to meet your needs.
How to practice cardio-training?
Cardio-training is an activity that can be practiced outdoors (cycling, running, rowing, etc.) or at home or in a gym (elliptical, treadmill, rowing machine, home trainer, stepper, etc.).
Sports such as Zumba or spinning, based on music, are cardio-training activities that have recently emerged and are now very popular.
Choose the activity that you enjoy and that best meets your goal
Some activities are more recommended than others for building muscle, losing fat, completing a workout or recovering from intense exercise. For example, rowing, rowing machine and elliptical trainers work a large number of muscles in the body and are therefore excellent for slimming, slimming and strengthening muscles. They consume a lot of calories.
If your goal is to stay healthy by practicing a cardio-training activity, any activity will do. Choose it according to your desires and means. There’s nothing like a bike ride or a jog to get in shape, for example!
Adjust the intensity and duration according to your goals
Your goal will determine the intensity and duration of your workout. A long workout at moderate intensity or a split at high intensity will help you lose fat. A high intensity will allow you to work on your anaerobic threshold or VO2max. To recover after an effort, it will be necessary to work at low intensity. Adjust the intensity of the effort accordingly and monitor it with a heart rate monitor (GPS cardio watch for example). Learn more: define training target zones.
Cardio-training: precautions and contraindications
Cardio-training can be practiced by anyone in good health, provided that certain precautions are taken. For example, avoid intense or brutal efforts if you are not athletic. Ask your doctor’s advice, who can carry out a medical check-up or possibly prescribe a cardiovascular assessment and an effort test. After the age of 35 or for inactive people, it is recommended to have such a check-up every 5 years.
Cardio-training is contraindicated in certain situations (e.g. infections and acute illnesses, high blood pressure, excess weight, heart failure).
Cardio is a sport activity that should not be neglected, no matter what your goals are! This sport activity to be practiced alone or in addition to another sport such as weight training can only bring you positive results for fat loss, the development of your muscle mass as well as the general health of your body and your heart. However, be careful to control your diet so that you do not have a caloric deficit if you want to maintain or develop your muscle mass!