The amount and duration of cardiovascular exercise a person needs to do to lose weight will vary between individuals. This article provides facts and tips to help.
Cardiovascular exercise, or cardio, increases a person’s heart and breathing rate. These exercises typically involve repetitive movements using large muscle groups. Examples of cardio include running and cycling.
Cardio can help a person manage their weight and is essential for keeping the heart and lungs healthy.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a healthful diet and physical activity are necessary to lose weight.
Maintaining a healthful diet is essential to losing weight. To lose weight, a person will need to consume fewer calories than they burn, and Most people will need to limit the number of calories in their diet.
They will also need to engage in regular physical activity. Cardio is an excellent way to burn fat and lose weight.
The CDC state that the right amount of cardio for losing weight will vary from person to person. They advise that people follow a weekly exercise routine that consists of one of the following:
- 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity, such as brisk walking
- 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity, such as running
- an equivalent mixture of the two
Doing this level of exercise every week is crucial to staying healthy. In combination with the right diet, this amount of activity will aid weight loss in most people.
However, some people might need to perform some additional exercise to lose weight.
The CDC advise that there is a range of factors that can affect a person’s weight, including:
- Environment: Some people live in environments without sidewalks or green spaces, which makes it harder to exercise.
- Genetics: Genetic factors also influence how a person’s body stores fat and uses energy
- Chronic illness: Some chronic illnesses, such as heart disease, can cause weight gain or make it difficult for a person to exercise.
- Medications: The side effects of some drugs, such as antipsychotic medications, might cause weight gain in some people.
Weight loss is typically a slow process and requires patience and perseverance.
People who are following a healthful diet and are exercising regularly should speak to a doctor if they are not losing weight. A doctor can help identify factors that might be preventing or limiting weight loss.
Some people suggest that burning 3,500 calories through exercise will lead to a pound of weight loss. However, researchers at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) suggest that this fails to account for how metabolism changes in different people.
Metabolism refers to chemical reactions in the body that help convert food to energy. Many factors affect the speed of someone’s metabolism, including their age and activity levels.
The NIH has created a bodyweight planner tool, which helps estimate how much activity an individual needs to do to lose weight.
The following table provides some indications of how many calories different activities might burn. The numbers reflect someone who weighs around 154 pounds.
|Activity||Calories burned after|
|Calories burned after|
|Running at 5mph||295||590|
|Bicycling at over 10 mph||295||590|
|Swimming, slow freestyle laps||255||510|
|Walking at 4.5 mph||230||460|
|Heavy yard work, such as chopping wood||220||440|
It is important to note that these numbers are only estimates. People will burn different amounts of calories according to their weight.
High-intensity interval training (HIIT) is a popular method of exercise for weight loss. It involves doing short bursts of high-intensity activity. There are usually brief breaks or bouts of lower intensity exercise between the high-intensity episodes.
A review in 2017 suggests that HIIT and moderate-intensity exercise both reduce body fat and waist circumference. But the HIIT takes up 40% less time than the moderate-intensity exercise.
Strength and resistance training help the body convert fat to muscle. This will reduce body fat and improve overall physique.
Some tips to help with weight loss through exercise include:
- Doing something enjoyable: Exercise does not have to be boring. It can take many forms, from dancing to team sports.
- Exercising outdoors: Fresh air can increase the enjoyment of exercise for some people, and it is usually free.
- Joining a friend: Exercising with someone else can help increase a person’s motivation.
- Making a weekly exercise plan: Some people find that following a plan helps them stay motivated.
- Warming up and stretching: Warming up before and cooling down after exercise can help reduce the risk of an injury.
- Trying local events: Signing up for a charity or community exercise event can be fun and motivating.
Many people find it difficult to lose weight. This may be due to a range of factors, including a lack of motivation or time constraints.
Following a healthful diet is essential to weight loss. A person should avoid processed, high-sugar, or fatty foods, choosing whole foods and vegetables, instead.
Keeping a food journal or using a fitness app can help a person track their progress. A fitness app can provide useful information about daily calorie and nutrient intakes.
Weight loss takes time. It requires patience and can be frustrating. It is essential to be consistent and not expect significant changes overnight.
There is no one size fits all answer for how much cardio exercise a person should do to lose weight. However, tools are available that can create individual activity plans for different people.
Cardio is excellent for weight loss and staying healthy. Combining cardio with other types of exercise has great benefits, such as strength training.
Making sure the exercise is enjoyable will help a person maintain the habit. This might involve some trial and error before a person finds the type of exercise that suits them best.