Should you do cardio every day? Like most people, you probably think that the more cardio you do, the better. After all, isn’t that what all those skinny long-distance runners do? And doesn’t everyone know that cardiovascular exercise is key to a healthy heart?
While it’s true that cardio is important for overall health, there is such a thing as too much of a good thing. Doing too much cardio can be counterproductive, leading to fatigue, injuries, and weight gain.
So how much cardio is too much? And what are the advantages and disadvantages of doing cardio every day? Keep reading to find out.
Before we get into how much cardio you should be doing, let’s first review what cardio is. Cardio, short for cardiovascular exercise, is any exercise that gets your heart rate up and keeps it there for an extended period.
This can include running, biking, swimming, and even walking. Anything that gets your heart pumping and makes you break a sweat can be classified as cardio.
Cardio is vital because it helps to strengthen the heart and improve lung function. It also helps to increase your overall endurance and stamina. And, of course, it’s a great way to burn calories and lose weight.
Cardio is often the go-to exercise for people trying to lose weight. And while it can certainly help with weight loss, there is such a thing as too much cardio.
The Disadvantages Of Doing Cardio Every Day
So what happens if you do too much cardio? For starters, you can start to lose muscle mass. This is because cardio burns calories, and when you’re in a calorie deficit (eating fewer calories than you’re burning), your body will start to break down muscle for energy.
That’s why long-distance runners often have such skinny legs. They’ve lost so much muscle mass from all the miles they’ve logged that their legs look almost skeletal.
In addition to losing muscle, doing too much cardio can also lead to injuries. When you overdo it, you stress your joints and connective tissues, leading to tendonitis, bursitis, and even stress fractures.
And, of course, when you’re injured, you can’t exercise, which can set you back weeks or even months in your fitness journey.
Finally, doing too much cardio can also lead to weight gain. When you do a lot of cardio, your body adapts and becomes more efficient at using energy. This means your body will try harder to store energy, leading to weight gain.
So if you’re trying to lose weight, you might be better off doing less cardio.
It can also help increase your lung capacity and reduce heart disease, stroke, and high blood pressure risk.
In addition, doing cardio can help to boost your metabolism, which can help you burn more calories throughout the day.
And of course, there are also the mental health benefits of exercise. Regular cardio can help to improve your mood, reduce stress, and even help to fight depression.
So while there are some downsides to doing too much cardio, there are also some definite advantages.
Can You Lose Weight By Doing Cardio Every Day?
Yes, you can lose weight by doing cardio every day. However, there is such a thing as too much cardio, which can lead to muscle loss, injuries, and even weight gain. So it’s essential to find a balance that works for you.
If you’re trying to lose weight, the best way is to focus on moderate-intensity cardio and mix in some strength training. This way, you’ll be able to maintain your muscle mass while also burning plenty of calories.
Who Shouldn’t Do Cardio Every Day?
People new to exercise or with existing injuries should avoid doing cardio daily. However, if you’re starting, focus on doing a few days of cardio per week and gradually increase your frequency as you get more comfortable.
And if you have any injuries, be sure to listen to your body and take things easy. Too much cardio can aggravate existing injuries, so taking things slow and easy at first is essential.
Tips For Maximizing Cardio Every Day
You can do a few things to make the most of your cardio. But, first, focus on quality over quantity.
It’s better to do a shorter, more intense workout than a more prolonged, less intense one. And second, be sure to mix things up. Doing the same type of cardio day after day can lead to boredom and burnout, so switch things up as often as possible.
Finally, remember to focus on your breathing. Taking deep, slow breaths will help oxygenate your muscles and improve your overall endurance.
How much cardio should I be doing?
The amount of cardio you should be doing depends on your goals. If you’re trying to lose weight, you might want to do more cardio. But you can do less if you’re trying to improve your overall health.
How many days a week should I do cardio?
How often you should do cardio depends on your goals. If you’re trying to lose weight, you might want to do cardio 5-6 days a week. But if you’re trying to improve your health, 3-4 days a week should suffice.
Do you need rest days from cardio?
Yes, you need rest days from cardio. Your body needs time to recover and repair itself after intense exercise. Overdoing it with cardio can lead to overtraining, resulting in fatigue, joint pain, and injury. Give yourself at least one day of rest each week from cardio, and add an extra day if you feel like you need it. Listen to your body and let it be your guide. If you’re feeling exhausted, give yourself a break!
I am an athlete. Should I do cardio every day?
No, you should not do cardio daily if you are an athlete. Doing too much cardio can lead to overtraining and injuries. Instead, focus on a few days of moderate-intensity cardio per week and mix some strength training. This way, you’ll be able to maintain your muscle mass while also getting the cardiovascular benefits of exercise.
Should I train strength and do cardio on the same day?
In conclusion to the question of should you do cardio every day, there are advantages to both. It’s important to find a balance that works for you. If you’re new to exercise, start slow and gradually increase your frequency as you get more comfortable. And if you have any injuries, be sure to listen to your body and take things easy.
Zoe Taylor has a degree in Sports and Exercise Science and is an avid runner and fitness writer. Zoe works with BodyCapable by researching and writing cardio-related content. In her spare time, Zoe runs marathons, keeps up to date with the latest fitness trends, and enjoys walking her dog!
Body Capable’s content is for informational and educational purposes only. Our website is not intended to substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment; we encourage you to seek out a medical professional whenever necessary.