On the surface, aerobic exercise appears to be fairly simple: just get your heart rate up and keep going. Many of us, however, believe that cardio must leave you panting to count, or that it can only be obtained through vigorous activities such as running or riding an indoor cycle until your legs feel like they’re going to fall off. In reality, many of these cardio training “rules” are more like cardio training myths that prevent us from getting any exercise at all. A cardiologist clarified where the truth lies within some of the most commonly held beliefs about aerobic exercise and cardiovascular health.
Aerobic exercise must be intense and complex.
Many people believe that in order to get their cardio in, they must go to the gym and use an exercise machine or attend an expensive indoor cycling class. While these activities can certainly provide a good workout, we should not overlook the most basic form of aerobic exercise: walking.
Walking has been shown to be the most user-friendly form of exercise. It is free, but it provides the best health protection and adds the most years to one’s life. Walking reduces the risk of heart disease and high blood pressure.
When you can’t get to the gym or don’t feel like doing high-intensity exercise like running, simply lace up your sneakers and go for a walk.
All you need to do is cardio.
Aerobic exercise is important for overall health, but it should be supplemented with strength training. A combination of aerobic exercise and light weight lifting for 5 to 10 minutes adds a lot to your body’s strength. Resistance training, when combined with aerobic exercise, can help prevent injuries, lower blood pressure, and improve other risk factors for cardiovascular disease.
Aerobic exercise must be arduous.
Many people believe that aerobic exercise must be difficult, painful, and difficult in order to produce results. This is far from the case.
Cycling, climbing, and swimming are all good forms of exercise, but studies have shown that if you don’t enjoy what you’re doing, you’re less likely to stick with it. So it must be enjoyable.
Consider trying a different type of exercise if you’re counting down the minutes until your workouts are over. Rowing, hiking, jumping rope, the elliptical trainer, Zumba and cardio dance workouts, cross-country skiing, climbing stairs, and rollerblading are some other aerobic options. Don’t be afraid to try new things. We frequently fall into ruts, but variety keeps things interesting and challenges our muscles in new ways.
You must exercise alone.
Some people struggle with the motivation to exercise, but fitness buddies can make the experience more enjoyable and engaging. They can also hold you accountable—much it’s more difficult to cancel a workout with a friend.
You will not benefit from it unless you exercise for an hour.
We frequently adopt an all-or-nothing mentality or assign an arbitrary amount of time to exercise in order for it to be worthwhile. So we believe that if we don’t have 45 to 60 minutes available, there’s no point in sweating.
Short workouts, on the other hand, can be beneficial to your cardiovascular health. Any form of exercise that lasts 15 to 30 minutes, even if it is not full-on, exhausting exercise, is worthwhile and beneficial. Something is always preferable to nothing.