If you’ve scoured the internet seeking advice on workout routines or weight loss, there’s a chance you may have noticed a somewhat discouraging pattern. It’s very common to see many fitness gurus speak negatively about steady state cardio.
They talk about how steady state cardio is boring. They talk about how it’s not as effective as lifting weights or high intensity interval training. They talk about how it consumes so much time.
While a lot of critics bring some valid reasoning to the table, there are still many reasons to love steady state cardio and continue doing it. Personally, I’m a huge fan of steady state cardio and believe that if you share my passion, you should continue doing it. Below are 5 reasons why steady state cardio doesn’t suck!
1.Good for your cardiovascular system
One of the reasons why a lot of fitness experts on the internet criticize steady state cardio is because it may not burn fat as efficiently as other workouts. While there’s a bit of truth to that, we all have to remember that exercising is not just about burning fat.
The primary reason why anyone should exercise is to become healthier. There’s so much craze in the world about losing weight and burning fat, that we have a tendency to lose sight of exercising for the purpose of becoming healthier.
It’s general knowledge that the number one cause of death around the world is heart disease. Although we may not be able to guarantee invincibility against future heart problems, steady state cardio is a phenomenal way to strengthen our cardiovascular system.
Steady state cardio keeps our heart rate elevated for a long period of time. This trains our entire cardiovascular system to become stronger. Our natural blood pressure and resting heart rate gradually go down, which means the heart doesn’t have to work as hard throughout the day to pump blood throughout your body. This, in turn, leads to a whole avalanche of health benefits.
As stated above, various fitness gurus will discourage you from doing steady state cardio and to focus on more efficient exercises that “burn calories much faster.” Regardless of what types of workouts you commit to, it’s important to remember that all exercises burn calories!
Sure, some exercises may be more efficient and effective than others, but this doesn’t mean that steady state cardio is a waste of time. Steady state cardio is, and will always, be one of the best ways to burn calories.
It doesn’t matter if you’re running on the treadmill, busting your butt on an elliptical, or cross-country skiing. You will burn calories. If you burn enough calories consistently over time, the fat and weight will melt away.
3.Do it anywhere
One of the biggest advantages of steady state cardio is that it can be done just about anywhere. Unlike lifting, you don’t have to worry about a gym membership. You don’t have to worry about finding a facility that has all the equipment you want or go through the hassle of waiting in line for a machine.
The only pieces of equipment you need to perform steady state cardio are comfortable clothes and tennis shoes. As long as there’s no hurricane or tornado outside, the entire world becomes your playground.
4.Prevents serious injury
How many times have you heard of people injuring their back while squatting heavy? How many people have you heard complain about shoulder pain after trying to max out on the bench press? Unfortunately, many people get injured when lifting or performing other explosive exercises that put a lot of pressure on their joints.
There is, of course, risk whenever you’re performing exercise of any sort. Performing steady state cardio, however, is one way to significantly prevent injury. Running for 45 minutes, for example, requires relatively little explosive movement. You’re not as likely to injure your back, hurt your shoulders, or blow out your knee.
Some will argue that running, over time, can cause wear and tear on your joints. There is some truth to this, especially for people who are a bit older or possess a bad history of joint pain. If this is the case for you, then exercising on an elliptical or bike machine is a phenomenal way to get in a solid cardiovascular work out with almost no risk of injury.
Last, but not least, steady state cardio is fun for a lot of people! Now, I know that there tons of people who hate it. There’s certainly plenty of fitness gurus who absolutely despise it. But, if you’re anything like me, you love it. I ran cross country and track in high school and truly fell in love with distance running.
There’s an incredible feeling that comes with sweating and breathing heavily for long periods of time. There’s also a large sense of pride and accomplishment that inspires my mind and body after going on a 5-mile run. Running for miles on end is an act that scares a lot of people, and because it scares a lot of people, it actually inspires me to do more of it.
There are plenty of us who would prefer running for 60 minutes over lifting weights at the gym or doing sprints. As I’ve mentioned periodically throughout this article, there are also other forms of steady state cardio besides running. Some people, like me, enjoy running, but there are many other people who would prefer using an elliptical, riding a bike, swimming, cross-country skiing, power walking, or going on a hike. There are many fun options when it comes to getting in your cardio.
I’m not trying to say that steady state cardio is the best type of exercise out there. There is no such thing as the “best” type of exercise for everyone out there because everyone is wired a bit differently. If you despise steady state cardio, then, by all means, don’t do it.
The point I’m trying to drill home is that steady state cardio is not as bad as many “experts” make it out to be. If you love steady state cardio, continue doing it. There are so many advantages to doing steady state cardio beyond the 5 that I listed. If you’re like me and you enjoy the feeling of endorphins, sense of accomplishment, and various health benefits that steady state cardio brings to the table, then keep on keeping on!