Why do we perform cardiovascular exercise? We perform cardiovascular exercise for several reasons. It’s keeps our bodies running efficiently . Cardio strengthens the heart so that it can pump blood throughout our bodies with less effort which means less stress to your heart. Of course, cardio burns fat and calories which, when existing in excess, are responsible for many diseases…high cholesterol, diabetes , cancer, etc.
Cardio improves your mood by lowering stress hormone levels. It improves lung capacity. Cardio improves sex.
Whether or not you have a desire to lose weight, the body needs to be physically challenged regularly just as our minds do to stay strong and youthful. Cardio fulfills this need beautifully, especially in conjunction with weighted exercise.
Is a calorie a calorie regardless of the nutrition source?
Even though I do not suggest counting calories regularly because it can be counterproductive, I do think it’s important for you to get an idea of what you typically eat on an average day in terms of calories. Most people underestimate the amount they eat by quite a bit. By counting you will learn what calorie range you need to stay within to maintain your weight with the amount of exercise you consistently perform. You can then figure out what you need to do… how much more you need to workout and/or how many fewer calories to consume to lose the weight. The plan has to work for the long term or it’s useless. It needs to be realistic for your lifestyle or whatever weight you lose is coming back, plus some possibly. The other part of this equation is the quality of the food you’re eating. It makes a huge difference in your body’s appearance. You will hear people say a calorie is a calorie which is true but if you were consuming high calorie, high fat foods totaling 2000 for your day, your body will not be quite as fit and lean looking and, definitely, not as healthy as when you are eating 2000 calories worth of nutritious foods. The problem here is that people think they are eating clean when they are not. By the way, you need treats and definitely healthy fats. You get to eat a lot more of the nutritious foods since they’re lower in calories. You will feel more satisfied for longer periods of time. There are many techniques for keeping yourself satisfied. Being prepared and variety in foods and textures are all big players in this game!
At what point do we start burning calories from fat? Does it even matter?
Some experts say that after 15-20 minutes of moderate to intense exercise, your body makes a shift in the way it burns calories, burning a higher percentage of carbs than fat for fuel which is counterintuitive. You actually burn a higher percentage of fat at lower intensity exercise but because you are burning fewer calories at this lower level, your total fat calories burned is not much. If you are trying to lose weight, you don’t need to concern yourself with when your fat burning percentages are up and your carb burning percentages go down. You just need to burn the excess calories …that is, the calories that surpass the energy your body requires for its daily work.
Here is an example:
If you walked for half an hour and burned 100 calories, your fat burning percentage might be 65% and then you would have burned 65 calories . If you ran for half an hour and burned 250 calories, your fat burning percentage may drop to 50% and you would have burned 125 calories which is much better than the walking scenario. Even though your body makes a shift and burns less fat calories with higher intensity (because you are burning more carbs now until they run low), you burned more calories overall so, therefore, the amount of fat burned is higher with running. You are also closer to getting rid of the surplus calories.
Lastly, your body uses the sugar/glucose you get from your foods for fuel during exercise. When you overeat, the excess calories that don’t get burned off are stored in your fat cells. These fat cells will multiply if you continue to overload calories beyond what your body needs. Hate that!
I hope you found this information helpful.