Steady-State Cardio vs High-Intensity Interval Training

Many of us dread the 45 or 60 minutes spent on the elliptical, treadmill, bike, etc. at the gym. Of course, we know that cardiovascular activity provides many benefits including increased heart health and fitness levels, but it can be a challenge to find the motivation to incorporate physical activity into our daily routines. If you are short on time, but still want to get in a quick cardio session in-between classes, consider high-intensity interval training (HIIT). Here are a few benefits of each type of cardio:

HIIT
-Allows for significant calorie burning because of periodic rises in heart rate
-Achieve health benefits in a shorter amount of time (usually ~20 minutes total, including warm-up and cool-down)
-Switches up the monotony of workouts and adds variety and intensity
-Best for more advanced athletes

Examples of HIIT (cycles of 20 seconds intense work, followed by 40 seconds of rest work)
-Squat jumps, burpees, sprints, elliptical/bicycle intervals, jumping rope

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Steady-State Cardio
-Puts the body into a fat burning zone when performed at 65% max heart rate (max heart rate = 220 – age)
-Ability to maintain muscle mass while still burning calories
-Improves cardiovascular endurance
-Best for beginners, as it places less stress on the body

Examples of Steady-State Cardio
-Incline walking, light jogging, bicycle, elliptical, swimming

So… which one is better?! Although many fitness enthusiasts argue that HIIT is a much more effective form of cardio compared to steady-state, both types will provide results (in combination with a healthy and balanced diet, of course). Try incorporating different cardio routines into your workout, and see which works best for you! Ultimately, finding exercises that you enjoy will be most effective because you will be more consistent and are less likely to skip workouts!

By: Melissa Falzarano

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