How often you should do cardio to lose weight is going to depend on how fit you are, how much overweight you are, and how fast you want to lose weight.
3 truths about cardio for exercise and losing weight:
- You can do too much of the same exercises week after week, and wonder why you are not losing weight?
- Too much cardio can cause muscle loss. Among other things, you need muscle mass to burn calories efficiently.
- The right amount can help you build endurance, get fit and healthy, and stay motivated and focused on your weight loss goals.
There are many ways to exercise with cardio, and all of them are good for improving overall fitness and shedding pounds.
That is — when you mix cardiovascular exercise with a healthy diet and add even a small amount of resistance training to your efforts.
Which Exercises Should You Do?
The person with weak knees may not be able to run — but he would have no problem swimming, or maybe using a recumbent bike?
The individual who is only 10 pounds overweight could start off with high-intensity cardio sessions 3 times a week.
Whereas the obese lady who is 50 pounds overweight probably will not be able to handle high-intensity training.
She’d be better off walking for 30 minutes, twice a day, maybe in the mornings?
You can easily see that the answer to “how much cardio should I do” is pretty much a question without an answer?
So, tailoring your workouts to suit your personal fitness level is crucial to seeing benefits.
This post is going to give you insight into knowing how much, how intense, and how often to do your workouts.
How Often To Do Cardio For Weight Loss?
The more intense you exercise the more weight you can expect to lose as a result of your exercise.
If you’re obese, overweight, or just out of shape to the point that high intensity interval training is too much for you to handle, that’s perfectly fine.
You can stick to slow, regular conventional exercise and still burn fat, even though it may not be the best.
As you burn fat and lose excess pounds, there’s a good chance that you will get your body in better shape to increase the intensity of your workouts.
And that’s where the magic happens!
How Intense Can You Exercise?
It’s important to note that the higher the intensity your sessions, the shorter the workout needs to be and the fewer times you need to work out a week.
For example, if you use HIIT cardio in your workouts you could reduce the time to as little as 4 minutes a day.
Yes, only 4 minutes. Basically, that’s sprinting for 20 seconds followed by 10 seconds of rest. This is done 8 times for a total of 4 minutes.
It may not seem like much, but it’s an excruciatingly difficult workout because of the level of intensity involved.
You can see from this that your own fitness levels play such a great part in how often you workout.
More intense HIIT exercises for weight loss will put your body in fat-burning mode for hours!
Here’s the best part – you only need to do it two or three times a week.
It’s that potent.
Slow Cardio for weight loss is good too
If you’re using a treadmill, set it at an incline especially if you need to walk slow.
If you’re walking outside, head for the hills. Walking uphill and downhill both burn more calories than walking on level ground.
You can even wear ankle weights or carry a backpack with a phone book or some other weight in it to add resistance to your workout and make it more challenging.
In fact, carrying 2-4 pound weights in your hands as you walk or run can make a great deal of difference to the exertion used during your exercise routine.
How Long Can You Exercise?
The amount of time you spend exercising is a key component to how often you do cardio and maintaining a healthy weight.
If you can’t handle really intense workouts yet, you can always just walk on the treadmill (around the block, or on a walking track) for 20-45 minutes 3 times a week.
As you get fitter, you could do 45 minutes in the morning, followed by 45 minutes in the evening.
Because the intensity is low, you’ll need to devote more time in your workout routines
Ultimately, the goal is to slowly lose weight and get fitter so that you can take on even more challenging workouts.
Progress Brings Results
Do not engage in more than 60 minutes of exercise at a time.
SEE ALSO: How To Lose Weight With Cardio
It’s better to do two 45-minutes sessions spread over the day rather than 1 long 90-minute walk.
Long sessions tax the body and can create injuries, cramps, etc.
Working out and exercise to lose weight is very different from training like an athlete.
Most people’s goals are to go from flab to fab…overnight?
However, that’s only going to happen with:
- Regular exercise
- Lifestyle changes
- Devotion to your goals
So it’s important to set REALISTIC goals for your weight loss and your exercise time.
Progress is the key, not how fast you can make it happen.
Take the slow approach until you can go fast.
By the time you’re fast, you’ll find the determination to go hard.
That’s when you’ll be ready to train like an athlete so that you look like one.
So, here’s the deal on cardio for weight loss:
- You want to vary your exercises so your body doesn’t get accustomed to just one form of exercising and stop burning fat.
- Don’t do cardio every day because you could quite well wind up slimmer with no body tone. Instead, exercise 2-3 times a week, and add at least one day of resistance training to build muscle.
- Do not work out for more than 60 minutes at the time. It’s better to do it twice the same day.
- Do any sustained physical exercise that raises your heart rate and keeps it raised. So you could jump rope, run, jog, walk, swim, or chase the dog?
Give it time and always remember, “ When it comes to cardio for weight loss — Slow, steady progress is better than fast, daily excuses.”