6 myths about cardio training — and what to do instead | Good + Good

AAerobic exercise may seem quite simple at first glance: just raise your heart rate and keep going. However, there’s a confusing array of ‘rules’ that many of us fall for – like that cardio has to leave you gasping to count, or that you can only get it through vigorous activities like running or cycling. indoors until you feel like your legs are going to drop off.

In reality, many of these cardio training “rules” are more like cardio training myths that ultimately keep us from exercising.

For clarity, Joseph P. Galichia, MD, FACC, renowned for his work in the treatment of heart disease and podcast host Heart healthbroke down where the truth lies in some of the most widely held beliefs about aerobic exercise and cardiovascular health.

Myth 1: Aerobic exercise should be vigorous and complex.

Many people think they have to go to the gym to use an exercise machine or take an expensive indoor cycling class for cardio. While these can certainly provide a good workout, Dr. Galichia says we shouldn’t overlook the simplest form of aerobic exercise: walking.

“Walking has proven to be the easiest form of exercise to do,” he explains. “It costs nothing, but offers the most health protection and adds the most to longevity. Walking is associated with a lower risk of heart disease and hypertension.”

When you can’t make it to the gym or feel like you can’t do high-intensity moves like running, just put on your sneakers and walk briskly.

Myth 2: Cardio is all you need to do.

As important as aerobic exercise is to your overall health, you need to supplement it with strength training. “A combination of aerobic exercise and lifting for even 5 to 10 minutes using light weights adds a lot to your body’s strength,” says Dr. Galichia. Resistance training can help prevent injury, lower blood pressure and improve other risk factors for cardiovascular disease. , especially when combined with aerobic training.

Myth 3: Aerobic exercise should be hard work.

Dr. Galichia says many people mistakenly believe that aerobic exercise has to be hard, painful, and difficult to see results. It is far from true.

“Bicycling, rock climbing, swimming are all good forms of exercise, but it’s been shown that if you don’t like what you’re doing, your chances of sticking with the program go down significantly,” Dr. Galichia says. must be fun.

If you’re counting down the minutes until your workouts are over, consider trying another form of exercise. Other aerobic options include rowing, hiking, jumping rope, elliptical trainer, zumba and dance cardio workouts, cross-country skiing, stair climbing, and rollerblading. Don’t be afraid to try something new. We often get stuck in the same routine, but the variety keeps things fresh and challenges our muscles in new ways.

Out of ideas? Try this heart-focused cardio circuit:

Myth 4: You have to train alone.

Some people find it hard to motivate themselves to exercise, but fitness buddies can make the experience much more fun and engaging, says Dr. Galichia. They can also hold you responsible. When you’ve planned to meet a friend for a workout, bailing out is much harder.

Myth 5: Unless you exercise for an hour, you won’t benefit.

We often fall into an all or nothing mindset or set an arbitrary time frame that we must make it worth it. So we think that if we don’t have 45 to 60 minutes available, there’s no point in sweating.

However, Dr. Galichia says even short workouts can benefit your cardiovascular health. “Any form of exercise that lasts 15 to 30 minutes, even if it’s not a full, strenuous exercise, is worth the time and very beneficial,” he says. Something is always better than nothing.

Myth 6: You don’t need to see a doctor before you start exercising.

If you’re eager to start working on your cardio fitness, the first step is to check with your doctor first, especially if you’ve been inactive for a while.

“Don’t skip a good physical exam. Knowing your blood pressure, the condition of your heart, arteries, heart rate and breathing capacity are great things to know before starting your exercise program and are an absolute must for people over 50 years,” says Dr. Galichia. “Knowing your family history and risk factors is paramount.”

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