One of the best ways to lose fat is with some type of cardiovascular activity. The goal is to increase your heart rate in order to throw your body into fat burning mode. But the question is, which type of cardiovascular exercise is right for you?
It’s pretty common for the average American to only think of running as far and as long as they can when the word ‘cardio’ is mentioned. We tend to think that’s the only way to make an impact on the goals we’re trying to achieve.
The truth is, there are many different types of cardio that are either forgotten about or just plain ignored that can actually be extremely beneficial for our health. Try incorporating some of these workouts into your regular routine and note if you see any differences. Changing things up now and again is a great way to get out of plateau stage.
Walking on Incline
While on a treadmill, try adding at least a 5 percent incline. The benefits of walking upwards are tenfold over walking on a flat surface. For starters, it burns almost twice as many calories – walking flat for 30 minutes will burn around 145 calories; but if you raise the incline by only 5 percent, you can burn close to 243 calories.
According to Free Motion Fitness, walking at a 3 MPH pace on a very high incline (16+) can burn 70 percent more fat than running on a 0 percent incline. Another benefit of this workout is muscle building. Walking upwards puts the hamstrings, calves and glutes to work. For significant muscle activation, increase the incline just above 15 percent. Overall, this exercise is great for cardio beginners as well as those who are prohibited to run due to injuries or joint issues.
High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is another great fat-burning workout. There are several ways to perform this cardiovascular exercise. One method is jogging on a flat incline for 60 seconds, then increasing the speed to a sprint for 15 seconds. Alternate between the two for 15 minutes and your heart rate will be raging.
Another way to perform HIIT is to start off walking on an incline of 10 or higher for two minutes and then switching to a sprint on a 0 incline for 1 minute. The intense intervals allow for the release of fatty acids into the bloodstream and also results in EPOC (excess post-exercise oxygen consumption), which is an after-burn effect that causes you to burn calories for hours after your workout is completed.
Think back to the summer Olympics. Did you watch any of the sprinting events for track and field? Did you notice how muscular all of the sprinters were? Obviously, there’s a connection somewhere.
Though sprinting is a very demanding form of training, a session only needs to last between 5-20 minutes to have an impact. Since sprinting is an anaerobic form of training, you should do your best to reach your maximum heart rate levels.
A good routine might be performing six to eight 100 meter sprints and only resting for one minute in between. Sprinting also has a great effect on increasing EPOC so your body will continue to burn fat even after your workout is completed. In order to see measurable results, the most important thing to remember is to go all out.
These three types of cardiovascular exercises are great activities for getting your heart rate up and burning fat. Very rarely do we need to go on a long distance run. Though some people prefer long distance running, the average person just wants the cardio session to be over with as soon as possible.
By performing these cardiovascular workouts, you will see even better results with more fat loss and increased muscularity than if you were to perform long distance runs on a daily basis.