Otto, my hunter, runningAnd the battle rages on.... to cardio or not to cardio? Is it healthy? Should we be pounding the pavement? Do you need it for weight lose?
I will try to break this down easily, yes, yes, no, some. My thoughts.
I will confess, I am not interested in running a marathon, or even a half for that matter. The 5K I did, was more than enough for me. I am not a fan of distance running or for the matter, any type of exercise done for long periods of time taxing the heart and body. We should be able to walk for several hours, our ancestors did this most days, probably, hunting and gathering. However, walking at a slow pace, with stops, is far different than running distances, cycling hours on end, this type of movement is just not healthy. There is much evidence to support this and it is mounting, here, here, here or a little searching on Mark's Daily Apple. To sum up what these studies are finding, you can have permanent, long term heart damage, even from one marathon or distant event.
Pounding the pavement can cause ankle, knee and hip damage that can result in replacement.
Muscle lose. I am sure you have seen the pictures of a distant runner vs a sprinter, asking how you want to look. After approximately 20 minutes you begin burning muscle and not fat. Bad thing. Upper respiratory infections at several a year.
Cancer. Our bodies do not have the ability to cope with this much stress, mainly oxidative stress and this type of stress causes diseases, cancer being one of the big ones. Recall how many distance athletes end up with cancer and heart problems. It is many and those with heart conditions requiring surgery, pace makers implanted, ending a career, or death is mounting.
With all this info, does it mean we do not do any cardio? Not at all. Enter in smart cardio.
What I mean by this is moving slowly frequently. HIIT, high intensity interval training, intervals, sprinting, going for a walk or a slow bike ride being able to maintain a conversation and enjoy the beauty around you.
The beauty of training with HIIT and intervals, is you have a one fell swoop of a workout. You do your cardio and weights at the same time. Saving time and getting the maximum benefit from your workout. These workouts range from four minutes to about 20 minutes.
How HIIT or intervals are performed:
Do an exercise for 20 to 60 seconds as hard as you can.
Rest, or active recovery, walking, stretching, deep breathing for 10 to 60 seconds.
Repeat the cycle, anywhere from four to 20 minutes in length.
An advanced form of this is Tabata's, not for the faint of heart or the beginner. Do something like this that is between 30 to 60 seconds of exercise with the same amount of rest is a good place to begin. You can do this with any exercise, mix and match for a full body workout.
Some of the health benefits:
Builds muscle, including the heart muscle
Does not cause excessive amounts of stress on the body
Burns calories for hours after, even days
Only needs to be done two to three times a week
Release of good feeling hormones, those that help make you happy
Can be done anytime any where
A great time to go for a short walk is right after you have done a workout like HIIT. Strength training, like this is going to release the fat from you body, the cardio at this point will help to burn it up. This walk dose not need to be long or excessive, about 15 minutes at a light pace will accomplish the task.
Moving the body every day and frequently, is important. Try and go for a walk, with a friend is even better, every day, 20 to 30 minutes. This is healthy, but keep the pounding, grueling, excessive cardio down to HIIT and intervals 20 minutes two to three times a week. Your body will thank you. So will your waist line.
Saving the world one stick of butter at a time.
God's abundant blessings