Sometimes when I go to the gym, I have this urge to tell some of the most religious treadmill riders “Ma’am, Step away from the treadmill!” No matter how many articles and reports are written on the benefits of other than cardio, it never ceases to amaze me how many women (and men too…) relegate themselves to the endless monotony of the treadmill – or for that matter, any other piece of cardio equipment. Moreover, these individuals will do cardio for over an hour…sometimes hopping from one piece of cardio equipment to another…never even considering time in the weight room, in classes or outdoors.
Although there are definite benefits to doing aerobic exercise; strength, core and flexibility training all provide numerous health benefits that cardio can’t: They increase muscular and bone strength, increase lean body mass, safeguard against injury and boost metabolism while decreasing fat.
Is it possible you are overdoing the cardio? Here’s how to know:
- Time: Unless you are training for a race, marathon or triathlon, there is no need to do more than 30 minutes of cardio (with your heart rate between 65% – 85% of your maximum heart rate) when you workout. Fitness Revamp: If you want to exercise for over 30 minutes, you are better off doing a 20 – 30 minute cardio session and another 20 – 30 minutes dedicated to strength training, stretching and/or core training.
- You aren’t seeing results: If you are trying to lose weight, yet you aren’t seeing results, it may be because of too much cardio. Believe it or not the idea of ‘burning off fat’ does not stem from cardio…it stems from strength training. Fitness Revamp: Build in 20 – 30 minute strength training sessions 2 – 3 times a week.
- Injuries: Too much wear and tear on your muscles and joints can end up in an injury…or even worse, multiple injuries. Incorporating flexibility and strength training helps to strengthen the joints which will prevent pain and damage to joints. Fitness Revamp: Take the time to stretch before and after your cardio sessions.
- Boredom: Does it take a lot to motivate yourself to go to the gym? Doing the same type of exercise every day, of every week, of every year is…BORING! Working out should be fun and should make you feel good. Fitness Revamp: Mix it up. Take a class or two that interest you each week. Get into the weight room and do a few sets of bicep curls. Go hiking. Do things that motivate you and keep you interested. Being active is what is most important…not the time and mileage on a piece of equipment.
Do you think you are overdoing cardio? Have you found any of the above indicators true?