Aerobic Exercise or Cardio - What is the Ideal Duration?
The ideal duration of aerobic exercise(cardio) is different for different circumstances and depends on parameters as:
How often is it done?
At what percentage of our maximum heart rate?
- Our objectives.
Do we aim for maximum fat loss,increased aerobic or anaerobic capacity? Maybe something else?
- The kind of the workout.
Purely aerobic or a combination with weight training?
- The time we have at our disposal.
- Our fitness level.
General advice on the duration of aerobic exercise(cardio).
1. Avoid long,boring, low intensity aerobic workouts because your gains will be minimal and disproportional to your invested time.
The fat burning zone is a myth which still has appeal because it is convenient. To burn more fat you will need higher intensity.
2. When speaking for a medium to high intensity--that is to say for about 70-85% of our maximum heart rate--a duration of 30'-40' is considered as ideal.
A shorter duration will not give substantial results while a longer one may have unpleasant consequences on our muscle mass.
3. If you can only afford limited time maybe you should try for a most time-efficient exercise form like hill sprints or equivalent.
4. If your objective is maximum fat loss you can try two sessions in the same day of about 30' each.
5. A high intensity is perfect for impressive results but is risky too. Overtraining,injuries and losing valuable ground could be some of the consequences.
To burn a lot of fat you will need sufficient intensity and duration.
If you simply want to reap benefits like...
- Higher aerobic capacity.
- Lower resting heart rate.
- Decreased blood pressure and cholesterol etc.
... then durations of 15-20' will suffice.
To your great health!
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