What is your goal when approaching cardio?
The growing trend towards a cardio workout is focusing more heavily on weight loss. Although we hear about the positive effects cardio and regular exercise has on overall health and weight loss, we do not receive much information about how to approach it.
Too often, people will make the decision to get in shape and just take off jogging or climbing using machines. For example, you will find that when working out, most people prefer to use sweat levels as the primary indicator of a good workout. When in reality, the only thing sweat levels actually indicate are increased heat levels within the body, which is not an accurate measurement of energy exerted.
Understanding the mechanics of your cardio workouts is just as important as any other fitness activity, where harder does not always mean better. Especially in weight loss, people tend to believe that the harder and faster they work equates to more fat that can be burnt per session.
The scientific truth behind cardiovascular exercise proves that we each have a target rate at which to exert our energy; excess exertion results in the burning of muscle instead of fat.
Take track and field athletes for example. These athletes are constantly running and lifting to the maximum extent their bodies can endure. Yet their physiques typically contain little muscle in comparison to bodybuilders. Knowing how hard to push is one of the KEYS to maximizing your results.
When trying to lose body fat any type of cardio is good, only as long as it is consistent. The fastest weight loss results come when reaching and maintaining the most efficient level of effort. The effort is measured through your heart rate. Keeping this rate consistent over a lengthened amount of time will provide much faster results than overextending yourself.
Improving comfort is an easy way to ensure consistency over time. If you are miserable with one method of cardio then switch to something more comfortable. You will find it easier to maintain your optimal heart rate longer, and you will be less likely to burn out.
Here are some wheelchair exercises, that will raise your heart rate:
Other advanced techniques to get your heart rate up are doing supersets and combo sets while lifting weight. That way you are receiving the benefits of muscle stimulation and cardio all at once.
Diet is extremely important to wheelchair users because we do not burn as many calories as somebody that is walking. Remember, you will not have to burn off certain calories and carbohydrates if you never consume them in the first place.
Try to target your heart rate for the length of your cardio workout. I recommend going no longer than an hour at a time during your cardio session unless you are training for something specific. Always warm-up for 5 minutes before beginning.
Do cardio first thing on an empty stomach. You will burn fat more efficiently and increase your fat-burning process faster getting you quicker results.