Cardiovascular exercise, or cardio, is a great form of exercise that has multiple benefits. Cardio is a great way to strengthen your heart and improve the delivery of oxygen and nutrients to your muscles and other organs. Furthermore, cardio is often the go-to form of exercise for losing weight.
In reality, cardio IS IN FACT a great weight loss tool. Steady state cardio certainly helps to burn calories while doing the exercise and induces weight loss all over the body.
There is one problem with cardio for weight loss.
You see, cardio doesn’t always target only body fat. It can help to lose weight, but some of the weight lost could potentially be lean muscle mass. This is especially true of steady state cardio, where you walk, run, jog, or pedal at a steady pace for an extended period of time. This keeps your heart rate at an elevated, but steady state.
The problem with losing muscle mass along with body fat is that your muscle mass is one part of determining your metabolic rate. Once you have lost the weight, your metabolism might be significantly slower than before you lost the weight.
A slow metabolism is not a bad thing on its own. However, if you slip up with your healthy eating habits or stop exercising, it is significantly easier to gain the weight back. Because your metabolism is now slower than before and you don’t have the same muscle mass to fight off the weight regain, you would be much more likely to gain back more weight than you lost in the first place.
Now, some studies have shown that interval cardio or other forms of high intensity interval training can help to preserve muscle mass. Incorporating intervals as a part of your exercise program is a great way to help prevent a loss of muscle.
Resistance training can help even more
Cardio alone is not the best way to lose weight and keep those results for good. However, adding targeted resistance training can help sustain and even build muscle, along with many other key benefits.
The important thing is that you structure your workout plan to help you effectively reach your goals, and keep those results for good.
If you need help with determining an appropriate plan of action to help lose weight, or have other questions regarding your health and fitness, please feel free to reach out the the fitness specialists at RAPS. Call us at 412-963-6480 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also click here to request a free test drive of our medical fitness services.