Are you a culprit of one of the many cardio crimes?

Steady State Cardio
A steady pace used to be the gold standard of cardio, but that’s no longer the case. Interval training has proven to yield higher heart rates, higher calorie burn, and more health benefits. So throw out that boring run, and add in some intervals!

Level of Difficulty
As humans we like to live in comfort. If you’re running, cycling, or doing any other cardio for that matter, and not feeling sore, then something needs to change. Pick up that pace, challenge the body, and see more results.

Consistency
You might have that favorite cardio workout, and regardless of how perfect you may think it is, doing the same workout over and over won’t do you any good. Keeping your body in a state of semi confusion will allow the most changes. Try cycling if you’re a treadmill junkie, and vice versa. Mix in incline, or just pick up that speed a little. Just remember to keep mixing it up.

Lack of Cross Training
Being a cardio junkie myself, I understand how it’s sometimes hard to do anything other than the training you “like” to do. Cross training is not only good for your training, but it also prevents injury, particularly overuse injuries. Taking care of your body in a preventative way is so much better than being forced to take time off due to an injury. Show your body some love, and cross train!

Uniform Inclines and Resistance
Speaking of preventing injuries, when we constantly put our joints through the exact same range of motion, overuse injuries can be abundant. You have so much more muscle activation at higher inclines, particularly in your posterior chain: glutes, hamstrings, and calves. The same can be said for decline, but with the anterior chain: quads and shins. Bump up that incline and resistance to build better cardio endurance.

Dehydration
So, you think you’re drinking enough, do you? The majority of people are dehydrated to some degree or another. And if you exercise regularly, you dehydrate your body even faster. For a second, just think about when it’s really cold outside and you can see your breath. That’s water condensation in the air. That’s water leaving your body, and every time you take a breath you lose that same amount of water, and with elevated breathing rates, your body can quickly become dehydrated regardless if you’re sweating or not. Respiration is the number one way we lose the water we consume, not sweat.

Duration
According to fitness guidelines, it’s still recommended that individuals maintain an elevated heart rate for at least 30 minutes 3 times a week for heart benefits. So, whether that’s riding your bike, doing hill repeats, or running intervals, you need to get your heart rate up, and keep it up for prolonged periods of times. The 7 minute workout is a flawed principle in this aspect. While short, high intensity workouts can be effective, they’re not going to help your heart in the same way prolonged cardio workouts will. So try to push yourself for at least 30 minutes at a moderate to high intensity level to keep that heart pumping.

Becca Capell
iFit Head Trainer