Cardio Tips for Newbies: Common Mistakes to Avoid
Starting a cardio fitness routine is a great way to improve your heart health, stay at a healthy weight, and lower your stress levels.
Before starting a cardio routine, it's important to know the common mistakes that beginners often make. This will help reduce the risk of injuries, prevent boredom, and keep your body fueled for workouts.
In this article, we'll discuss the important terms related to cardio and talk about the common mistakes people make when they start cardio. We'll also give some advice on how to get better at it and provide some easy cardio exercises for beginners.
What is Cardio?
Cardio usually means doing exercises that get your heart pumping. There are lots of different ways to get a good cardio workout.
Intensity during cardio exercise is how hard you are pushing yourself. You can measure this by checking your breathing rate, heart rate, how much you’re sweating, and how tired your muscles feel. This will help you understand how challenging your workout is.
You can easily keep track of how hard you're exercising by using a heart rate monitor to see which heart rate zone you're in, or by paying attention to how hard you feel like you're working.
If you don't have a heart rate monitor or are not familiar with RPE, you can judge how hard you are exercising by how your body feels. Look for signs such as sweating, heavy breathing, and how hard your muscles are working to determine your exercise intensity.
Low intensity - You can easily talk while exercising, you're not out of breath, and you're only lightly sweating.
Moderate intensity - You can still talk but it's a bit harder, you feel slightly out of breath, and you're lightly sweating.
Vigorous - You can only say a few words at a time, your heart is racing, and you start sweating after just a few minutes.
Cardio duration is the amount of time you spend doing cardio exercises in one session. A good cardio workout can range from 10 minutes to an hour or longer.
Engaging in steady-state cardio involves maintaining a comfortable and consistent pace for an extended period of time, typically 30 minutes or more.
HIIT workouts are short, intense exercises that last 10-15 minutes. They involve quick bursts of activity followed by recovery periods. These workouts push the body to tire quickly, making them an efficient way to exercise.
Getting regular cardio exercise is important for long-term success. You need to find a balance that fits your schedule and fitness level, and make sure you keep up with your workouts.
Heart Rate Zones
Heart rate zones are important for knowing how hard you are working during exercise. By understanding which zone you are in, you can adjust your workouts to reach different fitness goals. These zones help you see how hard your heart is working, so you can get the most out of your cardio sessions. Knowing and using heart rate zones can lead to better and more effective workouts.
When you work out, there are five different heart rate zones to consider. To find out which zone you should be in, you first need to determine your maximum heart rate (MHR), which is the highest number of beats per minute that your heart can pump.
A simple way to do this is by wearing a heart rate monitor, which can give you accurate and real-time information during your workout. This can help you make sure you are exercising at the right intensity for your fitness goals and overall health.
Rate of Perceived Exertion (RPE)
Your perceived exertion level (RPE) is how hard or easy you feel certain exercises are. It's a useful way to gauge your workout intensity if you don't have access to heart rate monitoring equipment. RPE is usually rated on a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being very easy and 10 being extremely tough.
RPE is often used in powerlifting and strength training, but it can also be applied to cardio workouts.
Training based on RPE gives you the freedom to adjust your workout based on how you feel. If you didn't eat well the day before or you're not fully recovered from your last workout, you can still exercise based on how hard it feels instead of sticking to a specific distance or speed.
Mistakes to Avoid When Starting Cardio
Focusing only on cardio
Cardio is great for your heart and stamina, but to build muscle and get stronger, you also need to do strength training. Mixing different exercises helps you stay fit overall and prevents you from getting tired of the same routine.
Strength training does more than just build muscle and strength. It also helps prevent injuries, increase power, and improve endurance.
No eating beforehand
Skipping meals before a workout might seem like a quick way to burn more calories, but it can actually make you feel tired and perform poorly. It's important to eat a balanced meal or snack with carbs and protein 1-2 hours before exercising to give you the energy you need for a good workout.
Not warming up
Not warming up properly is a common mistake that can lead to injuries.
You can warm up by doing dynamic stretches or gentle exercises that mimic the movements of your main workout. Before going for a run, warm up by brisk walking.
Additionally, perform movements such as high knees, butt kickers, and calf raises. These exercises will help loosen your muscles. A good warm-up should only take 5-10 minutes and can help prevent injuries.
Over-training can be bad for your fitness goals. Doing too much cardio or not taking enough rest days can hurt your health and progress. It's important to find a balance between workouts and rest to let your body recover and avoid burnout.
Only doing one type of exercise
Switching up your workout routine helps keep things interesting and prevents injuries from doing the same movements over and over. Try mixing in different cardio like running, cycling, swimming, or group fitness classes to work different muscles and keep things fresh. It's a good way to challenge your body in new ways.
Only maintain one type intensity
If you always work out at the same pace and resistance on the treadmill or bike, your body will get used to it and you won't see any improvement. It's important to challenge yourself by changing the settings and increasing the intensity.
Switch up your workouts by adding intervals, climbing hills, or changing your speed. This will push your heart and keep you from hitting a fitness wall.
Starting a cardio routine has a lot of benefits, but if you don't do it right, you could get hurt, bored, or lose interest. To improve your heart health, avoid these mistakes and gradually get better without feeling overwhelmed.