When it comes to your health and fitness, ensuring you get enough exercise can be vital if you want to truly want to change your life and better yourself. There are a number of reasons why people choose to exercise. They could do it because they want to get fitter and healthier. They might do it because they want to lose body fat and get in shape, or they could even do it simply because they enjoy it. Whatever their reasons, one thing is for certain, and that is that everybody is different and everybody responds differently to various methods of training.
When people think of cardio, they tend to picture somebody out jogging around the block, or somebody stuck in a gym, sweating on a treadmill for 45 – 60 minutes. The truth is however, is that there are a number of different forms of cardio exercise, and we’ll be looking at just two of these forms in this article. Contained within, we’ll be looking at HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) and Steady Pace cardio.
What is HIIT? – Basically, HIIT refers to a method of cardio training, in which people alternate between periods of low intensity exercise, to periods of high intensity exercise. Typically, HIIT involves an individual jogging or walking slowly for a period of time, often 90 seconds, and then sprinting as quickly as they can for around 30 seconds. They will then go back to walking steadily for 90 seconds before sprinting once again. Typically, they’ll repeat this process a further 8 – 12 times, or until they simply can’t go on any longer. HIIT can be done on cardio machines, it can be done whilst outdoors, it can even be done in the swimming pool.
What is Steady Pace Cardio? – Basically, steady pace cardio, sometimes referred to as steady state cardio, is just as the name implies, a form of cardio which is performed at a steady continual pace of a prolonged period of time. This generally ranges from anything to 15 minutes, up until around 90 minutes. Most people you see in the gym on a treadmill going at a steady pace are following this form of exercise.
What are some of the benefits of HIIT? – Both HIIT and Steady Pace cardio are very popular forms of cardiovascular exercise, and both have a number of pros and cons. Here are just some of the benefits of HIIT.
It can be done quickly – The great thing about HIIT is that it can be performed quickly, making it great for people who aren’t blessed with a great deal of time. A typical HIIT workout lasts less than 30 minutes, and is just as efficient as a prolonged steady pace workout.
You burn more calories in less time – As the workout is performed so quickly, many people often fear that they aren’t getting enough done whilst they workout. The truth is however, is that it doesn’t matter how long you spend in the gym, what matters is what you do in that time. HIIT allows you to burn off around 500 calories or more, all in the space of 20 – 30 minutes.
You require no equipment – To perform a HIIT workout, you require no equipment whatsoever. All you need is yourself. Obviously you can choose to use cardio equipment such as bikes and treadmills, but if you don’t have access to a gym, then simply find an open space, a field perhaps, and away you go.
HIIT Cons – We’ve seen the benefits and pros, now let’s take a look at a couple of cons.
It’s hard – Make no mistake about it, just because the workout is over quickly, doesn’t mean it’s easy. HIIT is difficult and extremely physically draining. The first round of sprints may be relatively easy, but as each round goes on, you’ll find yourself getting more and more exhausted.
It is better suited for experts – If you’re new to the gym and the whole exercise scene, then HIIT isn’t at first for you. It’s physically demanding and you first need to have a true understanding of your own physical fitness before you even attempt it. Stick with steady pace cardio until you get a feel for things.
What are the benefits of Steady Pace cardio? – We’ve taken a look at the benefits of HIIT but now it’s time to take a look at the benefits of steady pace cardio.
You can recover faster – HIIT is a gruelling workout. Just because it’s over quickly doesn’t mean that it doesn’t take its toll on your body. Steady pace cardio however, is far less grueling on your body, allowing you to recover quicker.
It’s better for your joints – As HIIT alternates between periods of different speeds, your joints can sometimes take a bit of a battering due to the changes in pace. Steady pace however, allows you to continue at the same pace allowing your joints time to get used to the activity you’re doing.
You’re more likely to stick with it – HIIT is pretty brutal and truth be told, not many people look forward to each workout. It’s gruelling and it takes its toll on your body. For that reason, if people don’t look forward to each workout, or better yet, if they actually dread each workout, then they probably won’t stick with it over a prolonged period of time. Steady pace is much easier and therefore, the thought of this sort of workout won’t cause people to tremble in their trainers.
Steady pace cardio cons – We’ve seen the benefits and pros, now let’s take a look at the cons.
It takes a long time – If you get bored of cardio, and let’s face it, many people do, then perhaps steady pace isn’t for you. It takes over an hour on average to burn around 400 calories.
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You need patience – As this is a form of low intensity exercise, you will need patience before you begin to see any noticeable results in your physique, and your endurance and fitness levels. If patience isn’t one of your virtues, then HIIT is perhaps better suited to you.