Is Cardio Necessary for Weight Loss
People who are out to lose weight are constantly being told different things about the best way to go about it. There are always fitness and diet crazes telling you the very best way to get lean and do it fast. Cardio is one of the things that is often touted as being key to weight loss, but is that true?
What is Cardio?
First off, what is cardio? Cardio refers to exercise that gets your heart pumping and the sweat going, such as running, kickboxing, dance classes or rowing. The idea is that these activities burn off many calories and can lead to weight loss.
While cardio can absolutely help you lose weight, you don’t have to do cardio to lose weight. Essentially, to lose weight you need to take in less calories than you burn through. To lose a pound, you need to cut or burn 3500 calories.
You can do this different ways. Either cut 3500 calories from your diet, for instance by slashing your daily consumption by 500 calories a day for a week – or you need to eat the same and burn off 3500 extra calories in a week through exercise. You can also do a combination of these two methods – burn 300 calories a day through exercise and cut 200 calories a day from your diet, for example. This will lead to a weight loss of roughly a pound per week, which is a very healthy weight loss pace.
The reasons why people tout cardio as being good for weight loss are that:
- You tend to burn calories quickly when doing cardio workouts, so it’s pretty easy to use it to jumpstart weight loss. Speed walking for an hour on a treadmill can easily burn 400-500 calories at a clip.
- Working out builds muscle in addition to burning calories, and muscle makes the body work more efficiently, even at rest. What does this mean for weight loss? It means that if you work out regularly you are burning more calories all the time, even when you are just sitting and watching television in the evenings.
While this means cardio is great for weight loss, it certainly isn’t the only way. If you have an injury or health problems that make it unsafe too do csrdio, you can lose weight through cutting back on calories alone.
Another option if you want to work out and lose weight without cardio is strength training, explains WomensHealth. In strength training, you use weight resistance machines and/or lifting weights to get fit and toned. This can be easier on your body than the jarring motion of running, for instance, but it still builds muscle mass and as mentioned, muscle burns calories.
Always remember to speak to your doctor before starting any exercise routine, whether cardio or strength training to make sure your body is up for the challenge. It’s also a good idea to talk to your doctor before changing your diet dramatically.