Cardio…How Bad or Good is it….Really?

How many articles have you seen appearing from fitness and fat loss “experts” now stating quite confidently that long slow cardio is not effective for fat loss and should be eliminated from your fitness programs or be tossed into the pit of non-achievers?

While in the hierarchy of what is effective for weight and especially fat loss I most heartily agree with the principle that excessive long slow cardio is way down on the list and will more than likely make you more prone to storing than losing fat off your body.

What I view as a problem is that so many who view a concept like this, immediately decide to throw all forms of cardio exercise out and just focus on weight lifting and metabolic conditioning. My question to these experts is this. “Why would you eliminate an activity that consistently delivers so many documented health benefits?

As a 64 year old who plans to enjoy many more years of the fitness lifestyle, here’s what I have found over my last few decades with periods that have and have not included portions of moderate times of running. I will also share with you exactly how much I recommend being that I feel that as with drugs, exercise modalities should be dosage related. Keep in mind that this is a personal account based on 40 years of training and observation. Science majors can just consider that when the anecdotal evidence comes from your own body then peer review doesn’t really matter. (Yes I cramped when using creatine.)

1.I breathe better. Having 20-3- minutes where I’m required to breathe deeper to provide oxygen to my working muscles has a most beneficial effect on my lungs. Having grown up as a child with asthma I appreciate how these “treatments” help my tidal volume and expiratory abilities.

2. My heart becomes more efficient as a pump. Having inherited a family history of short lived males I have a personal interest in breaking a few longevity records. During the periods of regular cardio my resting heart rate is below 50 beats per minute. This represents a greater volume of blood pumped with each healthy beat.

3. My resting blood pressure goes to 116/78 which is dramatically better than many who are half my age. During times of no cardio I have noticed it creeping up.

4. Circulation is improved and as a result nutrient delivery to all the cells in my body as well. Increased co-lateral circulation is also a benefit, meaning that new capillaries will open up for better delivery of oxygen and nutrients to cells. This includes cardiac vessels as well. Without going into to details I will also state without a doubt that if every man did a half hour of cardio at least three times a week then certain drugs would not be on the market due to lack of need. I would confidently imagine that women would experience better feelings about themselves with better circulation benefits as well.

5. Increased mitochondrial density: In our cells the mitochondria is your fat burning factory. Up to a point, aerobic activity can increase the number of mitochondria in the cells leading to a small but helpful boost in your metabolism.

6.. Stress Relief: The rhythmic nature of running with my in and out breaths co-ordinated with your step count combined with being out in nature provides free neuropeptides and feel good hormones. I consider my run a meditation in motion. As such, I ditch the ipod and ear buds to eliminate distractions to my experience of the wonder of each breath in and out. personal trainer in Clayton explains cardo benefits in relation to fat loss.

Wow! With all these delightful things that you can control to make your life better, why would anyone want to leave this out?

So here are some of my personal conclusions regarding cardio;

Avoid over-doing it: while it may give a self rewarding sense of accomplishment to complete a marathon or even a half, I advise against excessive running and most orthopedic surgeons and sports doctors will agree that overuse by runners injuries are some of the most common. Too much endurance work will also make you prone to reduced fat loss, muscle wasting, reduced metabolic rate and a tendency to over eat.

Get at least 20 minutes and avoid going over 50 minutes to keep from overdosing. Just because a certain amount of an activity may be beneficial, more is not necessarily better…better is better.

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