How much cardio should we be doing every week? Many patients have questions for their physical therapist, this among them. When it comes to any kind of exercise, most people would assume that more is always best. After all, if you want to be enormously muscular, you should work out a lot, right? Also, if you want to be as slim as possible, you should spend every spare moment on a treadmill, yes? Actually, that’s not quite correct.
Of course, as physical therapists, at Farmingdale Physical Therapy West we recommend a regular exercise routine. However, how do you know if you’re doing enough cardio? What do the experts recommend? Is it possible to do too much cardio? In this post, we’ll explore these questions and more. Keep reading for more information!
What is Cardio Exercise?
First and foremost, to understand this subject, it’s important to understand the precise definition of cardio exercise. In fact, the term “cardio” is technically slang – a shorter way of saying “cardiovascular activity.” Basically, cardio means any activity that increases heart rate and respiration, engaging muscle groups (like dynamic stretches) in a repetitive, rhythmic way.
Cardio is important for a healthy lifestyle because it progressively challenges our most vital internal system – improving the performance of the heart, lungs and circulatory system.
Am I Doing Enough Cardio?
Truthfully, it’s tough to provide a definite answer, because cardiovascular endurance will vary. Of course, we all have different bodies with varying factors like age, weight, fitness, muscle mass and more. Too much cardio can result in acute and chronic injuries for many people. However, for universal cardio exercise recommendations, we can look to the American Heart Association for reliable input.
The American Heart Association recommends at least thirty minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity at least five days per week. However, an alternative to this is twenty-five minutes of aerobic activity at least three days per week. In addition to this, the AHA recommends moderate to high-intensity muscle strengthening activity or resistance training at least two days a week for additional health benefits.
The AHA recommends an average of forty minutes of moderate cardio activity three or four times per week. Basically, something is always better than nothing!
Of course, as physical therapists, we’re passionate about advocating exercise of any kind. In many cases, our patients’ injuries come from not exercising enough. Without an exercise routine, we’re leaving our bodies susceptible to all kinds of injuries and ailments. Therefore, if you don’t have one in place (cardio or otherwise), you should implement one soon.