In this video we will talk about the importance of cardio training and its role in our overall fitness. Many of us find cardio training boring; we would specifically talk about how we can spice it up by including high intensity interval training or HIIT in our workout.
Size and strength is just one aspect of physical fitness. Just because one has big muscles does not mean that they are physically fit. One can easily build big muscles by consuming anabolic drugs and steroids, but does that make them physically fit? The answer is a clear no. By performing strength training we improve our skeletal muscles, i.e. the muscles we use for our motor movements such as Biceps or Quads. However there is one very important muscle whose health is crucial for our overall health and that is our heart.
Cardio training plays a critical role in strengthening our heart and hence is equally important as our strength training exercises. In order to keep our heart and veins healthy we should perform cardio training atleast two times a week, while during cutting fat this frequency may be increased.
Many people who strength train complain that they find cardio training boring and hence do not perform it. To a certain extent they have valid point, running on a treadmill or riding an exercise bike for an hour in the gym can be quite boring. This boredom can be overcome to a certain extent by performing these activities outside, however most of the places are not blessed with a perfect weather all year long.
Many of us find cardio training boring because it is the same monotonous movement performed at moderate intensity for a long period of time. One way to make a cardio session interesting hence is to introduce variation by perform intervals, where we perform the cardio exercise at high intensity for a certain time interval and then rest until we recover. We then repeat this cycle a number of times. This form of cardio training is called high intensity interval training or HIIT.
Many athletes actually now prefer to perform HIIT over steady state cardio as it offers clear advantages. Firstly HIIT severely taxes our cardiovascular system and hence can only be sustained for 10-20 minutes, this makes the cardio session much shorter. Despite being short in terms of time spent working out, it is far more effective in fat loss as it increases our metabolic rate and keeps it high for more than 24 hours after we have finished our workout. This results in more calories burnt overall even though the session of high intensity interval training was much shorter.
For those of us who just don’t like the idea of running or biking, there is another option. Fundamentally speaking, cardio training is anything, which brings our heart rate up. If you only love to strength train, you can a convert a strength-training session into cardio training session by performing strength exercises with little rest in between. The term for this type of workout is cardio strength training. An example of such a session will be to perform circuits, where three or more strength training exercises are performed back to back without any rest followed by a minute of rest and then the circuit is repeated. Such a workout will have our heart rate touching the roof in no time. It is a great workout to be performed when we are trying to cut fat but don’t want to lose our muscles as the strength part of the workout helps in retaining the muscle mass.
We have mentioned the advantages of HIIT, however it does have a big downside. It is brutal on the nervous system and hard on the joints. A certain level of fitness is a prerequisite before we are able to perform HIIT. If one has never done HIIT before then we recommend gradually conditioning themselves by slowly increasing the intensity of the workout. It is common for people to feel dizzy or come down with fever after performing HIIT the first time.
We conclude this video by emphasizing that healthy heart is a crucial part of being healthy overall. Cardio exercises hence are an integral part of a healthy lifestyle and must not be ignored.
In next week’s video we will talk about the importance of warm up and stretching and why it is critical to incorporate them into our workout.
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