Monday, September 04, 2006

Cardio Mix

I've found recently that its a really good idea to always be mixing up the way you do your cardio workout. I'm not just talking about what machine you use (elliptical, treamill, stationary bike, etc.) , where you do your cardio workout (indoors, outdoors, etc.), but also the way you actually do the exercise. There has been a lot of talk over the last few years about "what is the best way to do a cardio workout?" Should one follow just a HIIT method (High Intensity Interval Training), or is it better to do a lower intensity, longer duration workout? My thought is, if both have been shown in different studies to be effective, then why not do both?

It seems to me that there are a lot of different ways that you can do cardio, and almost all of them are effective in some way (I'm sure there are some really wierd ideas out there, so that's why I don't say that all of them are necessarily effective.) so why not give yourself some variety? In my honest opinion, the more variety you put into your workouts from time to time, the more likely you are to stick with it for the long haul. One huge benefit to doing an HIIT workout is the amount of time it saves you. You can get in a really good cardio workout in about 20 minutes. But, if you have more time why not go longer than 20 minutes? I'm sure there is a point of diminishing returns, and if I ever learn where exactly that point is I'll be sure to mention it. Here's something that I like to do for my workouts: when its an early morning cardio workout, I'll usually go with an HIIT program because more often then not I don't have time to just spend an hour on the elliptical machine. But, on Saturdays and other days when I have time, I love doing a 30-45 minute cardio workout. Normally on days like that, I pick a particular speed or heart rate level to try and stick to for most of the time, and from time to time I'll throw in an extra little burst of energy. After a cardio workout like that, I have to admit that I feel great!

So here's the main thought for today: have some variety in your cardio workouts!


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