Cardiovascular exercise and strength training are critical components of a well-rounded fitness regimen. Individuals may adjust how much of each exercise they do based on their fitness goals. A person who wants to build muscle might do more weightlifting, while a person who wants to lose weight would do more cardio. Doctors and trainers usually suggest a combination of both exercise methods.
The question is: how much cardio should we aim for each week? The recommendations will vary depending on your goals; if you're concerned about losing weight, they will extend beyond what is recommended for overall health. Expect to do cardio at least a few times per week, no matter what your goal is.
Cardio for heart health: how much to do each week
Cardiovascular exercise can improve heart health. A rigorous exercise routine that gets your heart rate up and makes you sweat has a wide range of benefits. These include reducing the risk of heart disease and lowering your blood cholesterol levels.
The American Heart Association recommends that adults take part in at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity each week to reap the full health benefits of physical activity. This means that you need to do a minimum of 30 minutes of physical activity each day. However, if you prefer more vigorous exercise, 75 minutes of vigorous exercise a week is recommended, which comes to about 25 minutes a day at least three times a week.
Doing moderate-to-vigorous exercise three to four times a week is essential if you want to lower your blood pressure or LDL cholesterol. When it comes to exercise, it's wise to consult your trainer or doctor to create a specific plan that is suited to your needs and health, especially if you need to manage chronic conditions.
Cardio for weight loss: how much to do each week
Cardio is essential for weight loss. According to the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), for proper weight loss, you need up to 300 minutes of cardio training per week.
If you break 300 minutes a week down, you would be working out for one hour a day, five days a week. Many people are not able to allocate that much time to workout, so this may seem like a lot. Exercise does not necessarily have to be intense cardio or HIIT. It is recommended that your cardio workout consists of continuous cardio at a moderate level, reaching 60 to 70 per cent of your maximum heart rate.
As an alternative, you can spread it out throughout the week; rather than taking an hour at a time, perhaps you walk for 30 minutes in the morning and cycle for 30 minutes in the evening.
Check your heart rate to determine if your workout qualifies as "moderate" or "vigorous." Wearing a smartwatch or heart rate monitor is the easiest way to do this. Also, seek advice from your doctor concerning your target heart rate and the required time to maintain it, especially if you are on medication for a heart condition.