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Chronic Cardio: Are You Wasting Your Time?


The Chronic Cardio Myth

Yet another fitness trend is doing the rounds. Those who don’t believe in weight training are sweating to exhaustion. Running, HIITs and other cardio workouts are some of the most popular workouts that people are switching to, believing the key to being their fittest self. This leads us to the most asked question in the fitness community – is cardio bad for you?

Well, there might be some truth to the myth of “too much cardio.” Read below to find the right way to get the best out of your cardio workouts.

The Body in Cardio

When you indulge in exercises that pump up your whole body, they get your heart rate up and improve your body’s oxygen utilization.

Your body responds to exercise the same way it responds to stress. The same chemical process is entered into when you work out too much. When you don’t give enough time for recovery, it adversely impacts your physical and mental health. When you overdo it with cardio specifically, it is wasting the muscle and fat and not giving you the results you aim to achieve. 

Gaining or Losing?

The most common hormones that the body releases during and after exercise are insulin, cortisol, endorphins, and leptin. Insulin takes the excess glucose your body needs and stores it as glycogen or body fat.  The “stress” hormone, cortisol, is released which mobilizes the glucose in a “fight or flight” situation. Too much cardio is signaling that the body will react in the same way you would in this situation! 

Your body gets unnecessary blood sugar, which it doesn’t need, and instead stores it as fat for later using insulin.  Leptin inhibits appetite and goes hand in hand with insulin. too much exercise produces increased levels of both hormones which leads to you developing resistance toward these. This makes it harder for you to lose weight. You feel lethargic and hungry, which messes up your metabolism even further. It is a vicious cycle of cardio and cortisol!

If you are a chronic cardio person trying to lose weight, it might not lead you to your goal! When you perform these exercises regularly, your body gets into the calorie deficit zone and soon starts adapting itself according to it. It stores the fat for the energy it needs to fuel for the next workout. Also, post a heavy cardio workout, you have a tendency to eat more, which adds to your weight.

The Right Way

You can train your body to run efficiently by not stressing about running too much. A holistic look at fitness is necessary to keep this in mind. Coupled with lifting heavy weights, high-intensity interval training can prepare you for performance.  Short, intense cardio sessions are great ways to burn fat, as compared to high-intensity one. HIIT produces less of an afterburn effect than a short but quick cardio session. Remember not to go overboard with these as you become more prone to injury and fatigue. A balanced fitness schedule includes a mix of cardio, varieties, intensities, strength, and rest.

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