How To Use Cardio To Lose Weight
If you want to know how to use cardio to lose weight, you need to know the types of machines available to you. Not only that, but you should know the advantages and disadvantages to each and how they will affect your overall ability to use cardio to lose weight.
- Treadmill. The treadmill offers a smoother, safer platform than traditional outdoor running and allows runners to control tempo. One big disadvantage is that your knees, ankles, and feet will still absorb the shock of running. While most treadmills allow some cushion on their treads, they cannot eliminate all of it. Any runner with a history of leg problems should consider if the treadmill is a good choice for them.
- Ellipticals. Elliptical machines are the most popular cardio equipment to lose weight. They combine cross-country skiing and the running mechanics of the treadmill. By holding onto the hand poles, you can incorporate your upper body, too. Ellipticals also work the backside and offer various angles and resistance. One big advantage of the elliptical over the treadmill is that it does not require the user to lift their feet off the ground, eliminating the surface shock typical to traditional running.
- Bikes. Exercise bikes are an excellent way to use cardio to lose weight. They offer a wide range of resistance to develop the lower body, just like treadmills and elliptical. However, many bikes do not have settings to change angles. In this case, resistance acts as a stand in for uphill biking, whereas an elliptical allows you to adjust both independently. Recumbent bikes enable the user to place greater emphasis on their lower body versus an upright bike, which vertically aligns the body and reduces the tension on the legs. Either version will give you a great cardio workout to lose weight, however.
- Stair climbers. Stair climbers have gone out of popularity with the majority of people who use cardio to lose weight. Despite this, many gyms will include a few stair climbers to round out their cardio equipment. Stair climbers develop the backside and can be adjusted for speed.
- Speed. Speed is an important consideration if you want to use cardio to lose weight. It’s advisable for beginners to start at slower speeds for the first few weeks regardless of the machine.
- Timing. It’s suggested that each cardio session last a minimum of 45 minutes. Thirty minutes or less on a cardio machine will fail to elevate the heart rate to the point it will continue burning calories after the session has ended. If you want to only burn 200-300 calories per session and little more, 30 minutes will do. If you want to lose major calories, however, stay on your cardio machine for 45-60 minutes.
- Programs. Many treadmills and elliptical machines allow you to choose programs based on your goals. The options include cardio training, fat burning, weight loss, and a random setting to keep your session spontaneous. The fat burning or weight loss options are good if you want to use cardio to lose weight.
- Intervals. The best program to lose weight is the interval program. Intervals are one minute at high intensity (80% or more of heart rate), followed by a minute of lower intensity (30-40%). These intervals push the body to burn more calories by pushing the body’s adaptive response. You will run faster for a longer overall period than during a consistent pace, which will burn more total calories.
- Heart rate. To use cardio to lose weight no matter which machine you choose, it’s best to keep your heart rate at 85-90% of your resting rate. To determine your max heart rate, subtract your age from your weight, then divide by 85%. For instance, at 225 pounds and 30 years of age, your max heart rate would be 195 divided by 85%. This means your optimal heart rate would be 166. Nearly all bikes, treadmills, and elliptical machines today have heart rate sensors on their handles. Use these sensors to monitor your heart rate and keep it at or above 85% to maximize your weight loss.