Why I Stopped Doing Cardio – And Why You Should Consider It Too
By Lindsay Sibson
Nearly nine years ago, I completed my first full marathon in Anchorage, Alaska. I had received a flyer in the mail about running a marathon for charity and thought, “SURE – why not?”
Now, I have never really identified myself as a “runner” (and still don’t)… but I figured I could make it across the finish line. My running style is to enjoy the journey. I knew I wouldn’t be winning the race, so I didn’t think it was necessary to rush myself, considering everyone in the race would receive the same metal at the finish line.
The result? I MADE IT! The 17 mile training runs to prepare myself were all worth it in the end. But, I must admit – running that many miles a day just isn’t fun in my eyes. I went on to run another full marathon and a few half marathons until I finally recognized that I just don’t really like running! No amount of running would convince me otherwise.
With my long distance running days behind me, I would still frequent the gym and hop on a piece of cardio equipment for anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour (and totally feel proud of myself). Yet, I never really saw the results I wanted (to be more strong and toned). I knew I needed to do something different.
My curiosity led me to read various books and articles and to watch Youtube videos about the different methodologies surrounding exercise. What I discovered made me truly second guess what I thought I knew about exercise and fitness.
Here are the top ideas I learned:
1. You don’t have to work out a ton to lose weight – What you eat really is what is MOST important in changing your physique.
2. Overtraining (exercising too much) can actually cause you to gain weight (YIKES!) – When you exercise excessively, it raises the cortisol levels in your body. Prolonged elevated cortisol levels result in weight gain and muscle loss.
3. Small amounts of vigorous exercise exceeds the benefits of lengthy exercise – Exercise as simple as a brisk walk around the block can do more for you in the long run than sprinting a mile a day can.
Equipped with some new information and “truths” about exercise, I decided to switch it up and break up with cardio. Here is why:
1. No more dreading it – Sometimes, the thought of logging 45 minutes of cardio (as recommended by some professionals) made me want to scream. I had an internal battle several times while making myself step foot in the gym. It wasn’t pleasant at all!
2. Functional strength is what matters – 30 minutes on the elliptical may give me time to squeeze in an episode of my favorite podcast. Aside from that, I never felt the real life benefit of it. However, now that I focus on weight training and moving my body, I can feel the difference in my day to day life (such as bending, lifting, climbing stairs, etc…)
So, without the bulk of my gym time being spent doing cardio… what is a girl to do?
Here are some exercise options that will help you feel strong and energized:
1. Weight training – Shoulder press, bicep curls, squats, leg extension, etc…
2. Sprints – For 15 minutes, do 30 seconds of running as fast as you can followed by 90 seconds of rest (I sweat more doing this than I EVER did running for an hour).
3. Body weight exercises – Squats, push-ups, tricep dips, lunges, etc…
A final thought is… do what you ENJOY and makes you feel healthy and happy. If you enjoy cardio, then stick with it. But, if you find yourself loathing the gym, because you can’t stand to think of yet another session on the stairmaster… then perhaps it is time for you to break up with cardio and try something new.
Lindsay Sibson turned her lifelong dream of traveling the world into a reality when she first stepped on a plan in April of 2014. With the simple intention of learning more about this beautiful world, she stepped away from corporate America to explore an alternative lifestyle of long term international travel, volunteering, blogging and pursuing a blissfully happy and fulfilling way of life.
Lindsay documents her journey in hopes of empowering others to find their passion, reignite their spark and freshen their outlook on life. Connect with her on her website and follow her travels on Instagram (https://www.instagram.com/_traveloholic_).
Through her blog, Lindsay documents her journey in hopes of empowering others to find their passion, reignite their spark and freshen their outlook on life.
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