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How To Plan a Cardio Schedule

How To Plan a Cardio Schedule

How many times have you heard someone say “I don’t have time to exercise”? Historically, this phrase has been commonplace as an excuse, given commuting times, family obligations, after work soirées and fixed gym timetables. We’ve heard so many people say it over the years but since Covid in particular, the world of home exercising has opened up in a way that is slowly being accepted as the new norm. In short, when it comes to exercise, “you don’t have time not to (exercise)”. *

All forms of exercise, including cardio, can be incorporated into your daily schedule at any time of day and to suit you. There are limited excuses for not exercising indoors, even if it is pouring with rain. Home fitness equipment, weights and fat burning exercises can be done in front of the TV as you watch the rain pelt down.

So where do you start?

What is Your Goal?

Before you start any task, it is always sensible to think about the end goal? What do you want out of your cardio schedule? Whilst you don’t need to put too much pressure on yourself, be realistic about your daily activities, energy levels, health challenges you might have and eating patterns etc?

Weight Loss

When starting out or just for health and weight management purposes, always make sure you have eaten at least an hour or so before you do cardio and ensure you are hydrated, or you may get a headache. Some more advanced gym bunnies might advocate fasting cardio to lose weight – we wouldn’t advocate this approach for novices unless you are under professional supervision. 

The fat burning process is a science but fundamentally you need to decrease your input of food and increase your output of activity but don’t starve yourself, and don’t think you are going to turn into The Rock Dwayne Johnson - Wikipedia after half an hour of training. 

Aerobic Performance

Finding the right type of cardio activity for aerobic performance will also depend on you and getting the right fit. If you have issues with your joints or knees, best to consider low impact aerobic workouts versus running on a treadmill, for example.

You can still get your heart pumping on an exercise bike, air rower or cross trainer, you simply put less pressure on your joints than running on a treadmill. If you like to do old-skool aerobics’ classes or Zumba via Zoom or online, these are fun workouts to music that can also burn calories and increase your cardio function – just in a different way.

If you are keen to improve your heart health, you can also wear a heart monitor and get a bit geeky with the sums via a heart health calculation tool. Before you start your cardio health journey though, why not work out your heart age, as defined by our friends at the British Heart Foundation What's your heart age? - use this tool before your Health Check (bhf.org.uk).

Health & Wellbeing

Cardio improvement can only but help to improve your health and wellbeing; from losing a few inches around the waist to powering up your immune system as we go into Autumn and Winter. Not only that, but any form of exercise will start to release feel-good endorphins and help to boost your mental and emotional health, which is slightly addictive in itself.

As your confidence increases and when you start to look and feel just that little bit ‘better’, you may start to review what (and how much) you eat and when, as well as the amount of alcohol you consume or the number of Netflix box-sets you binge per week. Roger’s mantra is “to just keep moving” – it doesn’t have to be record-breaking but keep the body working and blood supply pumping in a way that works for you and your body.

Best Cardio Exercises for Weight Loss

So when it comes to the best cardio exercises for weight loss, these can vary in terms of ‘what’ to do: from running on a treadmill, to skipping, lifting weights or doing burpees in the living room. The trick is to keep surprising your body and don’t become complacent or bored with one fixed workout.

Short bursts of exercise can be just as ‘effective’ as hours on a cardio machine. Most home fitness equipment will have pre-programmed fat burning options – these will normally include mixing up high reps/RPM activity, with more intense levels of training.

On a treadmill, your speed might increase, as might the incline on the belt. On a cross trainer, your training level might vary during your workout and you should notice the difference of intensity, regardless. Conversely, any weights-associated cardio workout should be followed in a sensible way – do not assume that fast = effective. You could actually do yourself physical harm. If you are a Joe Wicks’ fan, make sure you exercise on a non-slip surface before you start jumping around on the carpet.

How Often Should I Do Cardio Each Week?

In terms of workout frequency, this depends on you and your specific goal. If your doctor has told you that you need to lose weight and get your blood pressure down, it is more sensible to do a little exercise and often rather than ‘panic-exercising’ by going hammer and tongs and ending up in a heap on the floor. You should also consider mixing up your cardio with strength training – you don’t need heavy weights.

How Long Should You Do Cardio Each Day?

The NHS offers average guidance of doing 20 to 30 minutes of cardio exercise per day. This could be a brisk walk outside to varied use of your home exercise bike. Mixing up your exercise schedule is not only good for your body but also your brain as it keeps you alert to new experiences, knowledge and concentration.

Everyone at Roger Black Fitness genuinely believes that exercise, cardio or otherwise, is a key driver when it comes to living your optimum life and helping you to become the best version of yourself possible. It doesn’t have to be competitive; it doesn’t have to be ‘Instagrammable’ but it does have to be enjoyable and fit in with your everyday lifestyle. As our strapline states “home fitness for every body” - so what are you waiting for?

Best of luck and if you have any questions for Roger and the team, please email hello@rogerblackfitness.com

For more information on home cardio workouts, visit https://www.livestrong.com/quick-workouts/ or 10-minute home cardio workout - NHS (www.nhs.uk)

*Source: www.sparkpeople.com

You should seek medical advice prior to working out on a cardio machine. Always unplug your home fitness equipment after use and remove cables and trip hazards to keep your home or work environment safe. Children should be supervised during fitness equipment use