It has been medically proven that regular cardiovascular exercise greatly improves sleep, makes your bones stronger, increases overall energy levels, improves digestion, makes both the lungs and the heart stronger, improves overall circulation and insulin sensitivity. On top of that, cardio exercise assists in the elimination of built up lactic acid from the body and aids muscle gaining.
The ‘burning’ sensation you feel after an intense workout is actually the lactic acid building up in your muscles. An overabundance of lactic acid can slow down your recovery times and can also make your muscles feel quite sore. Cardio is great because it causes toxic compounds to oxidize, gets your circulation going and thus cardio aids your body in flushing the lactic acid that builds up rapidly during your workout.
When summing the numerous benefits you can get from cardio exercise together (increased energy, better absorption of vital nutrients, the removal of toxins from the body, increased work capacity etc.) you can see why regular cardio exercise is just as important as weight training in your quest to gain muscle. By doing cardiovascular exercises you are creating an optimal environment for muscle building.
A good combination for muscle building would be an intense weight workout during which the lactic acid builds up and triggers the release of Growth Hormone, followed by a cardio session with lower intensity.
Here is a bit of advice about cardio training:
– You should do cardio at least three times per week for at least 20 minutes per workout.
– Determine your “target” heart rate which is where you want your heart rate to be during your workouts. Do so by: (1) Taking your age and subtracting it from 220, (2) Taking that figure and multiplying it by 0.65 to find your low target rate, and (3) multiplying that same original figure by .8 to find your upper target rate.
– Purchase a heart rate monitor at a fitness or sports store. Some are worn on the wrist and others are worn around the biceps. They will allow you to track your heart rate so you can ensure that you are in the target zone when working out and make adjustments if necessary.
– Enjoy your cardio workouts by picking something you actually like doing. Try a couple of things, such as walking, hiking, aerobics, swimming, kick-boxing, rowing – anything that gets your heart rate pumping.
– Your body will burn the same number of calories at a certain heart rate whether you are riding an exercise bike, using the stair master, or hiking through the woods, it makes no difference in terms of real world results. It’s not important what type of cardio you use as long as you are working hard enough.