One of the hardest parts about starting an exercise program is figuring out what the best programs are for your body and lifestyle. The internet is full of fitness professionals who have in-depth opinions about why their methods are best. It’s a headache for anyone new to exercising. It’s a headache for anyone already exercising too, since they might get that lingering feeling that they’re doing something wrong.
These days, exercises are generally divided into two categories: cardio and high intensity interval training (HIIT). Instead of telling you what you should be doing, we’ve gathered up the most objective description of each so that you have a good idea of what to expect.
Cardio training is focused on improving your body’s aerobic system. This system converts energy to do simple tasks like breathing, digestion, walking, sleeping, and standing. Cardio exercises can include running, swimming, biking, or even just walking. The focus is on keeping a steady pace that is just difficult enough to keep your heart rate up, and maintaining that pace for a period of 20 minutes to an hour.
Cardio exercise is a good method of keeping a steady, baseline health routine. It can help lower your blood pressure, which can lead to improvements in relaxing, recovering from stressful days, and being able to focus on your tasks. Those who are looking for large gains, however, may be disappointed if they only do cardio exercises. Also, while more meditative athletes may find the repetitive motions of running or swimming peaceful, others may find it boring.
High intensity interval training is pretty much the opposite of cardio exercise. While in cardio you maintain a steady pace for a long period of time, in HIIT you start and stop often. When you move, it’s moving with the highest level of intensity, like sprinting. HIIT has been found to help people lose more weight than traditional cardio, though researchers are still not exactly sure why. Since HIIT is so intense, it helps your body adapt to other exercises and motions that may require those sudden bursts of speed, like soccer or football.
What makes some people advise against HIIT is that it doesn’t give the same aerobic benefits as cardio does. Athletes who strengthen their bodies with only HIIT exercises still have heart rates that are similar to those that don’t exercise at all, and that’s because high intensity workouts put a different kind of strain and development to your cardiovascular system.
These are brief overviews of both cardio and HIIT exercises. We hope you can use this information to try the approaches and find out what works for you. One thing you should always consider when adapting to a new workout routine is whether or not you even enjoy it! If not, you most likely won’t be sticking with it no matter how much it’ll improve your health. Group training can not only make fitness fun, but you have the opportunity to speak with other athletes about your goals and gameplan about what aspects of cardio and HIIT workouts are best for you. Try a free class with us at PumpFit to experience the best in South Florida fitness!