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Cardio & Weight Loss: Finding the Best Cardio Workout for You

Types of Cardio Exercises
Cardio is widely recommended for almost anybody who is physically able to exercise. However, everybody has their own level of fitness, their own limitations, and their own strengths. The great thing about cardio is there are so many different types of workouts, that you can add or combine almost anything that pushes you without straining you, plays to your strengths, and keeps your workout routine interesting. 
Cardio encompasses a broad range of exercises, but there are three types of cardio workouts: 
  • High-Impact. High-impact cardio requires you to have both feet off the ground at some point during the workout. It is weight bearing exercise, meaning that you must use your limbs to support the weight of your body against gravity. Jogging, running, jumping rope, and some forms of dance are high-impact exercises.
  • Low-Impact. Low-impact cardio is still weight bearing, but it requires one foot to be kept on the ground at all times. It can still be an intense workout, and may contribute to heart health.  Walking, hiking, and other forms of dance are low-impact exercises.
  • No-Impact. No-impact cardio is activity that is non-weight bearing; it reduces the pull of gravity on your body, such as when you’re immersed in water. Swimming and water aerobics still increase your breathing and heart rate, but they are no-impact activities. Similarly, outside of the water, cycling does the same, because the bicycle supports most of your body weight. No-impact activity may be beneficial for people with joint issues, because it reduces much of the strain of your feet hitting the ground repeatedly.

Finding the Right Cardio Workouts for You
There is no “best cardio workout”, but you can find the best cardio workout for you. Many of the activities described above can be beneficial in that they fulfill the basic tenants of cardio: raise your heart rate and breathing to improve the efficiency of oxygen consumption by your muscles. When it comes to incorporating cardio into your life, it’s more about finding which of these activities work for you. Which do you enjoy? Which can you do?  
It is very important that you consult with your physician before deciding to begin any cardio routine. Cardio workouts may strain on your heart, lungs, and circulatory system, so you and your physician must work together to determine a course of action that meets your physical needs. 
Another factor to take into consideration is your level of physical fitness. How often do you exercise? Do you tire easily when you do workout? Are you just getting started with your active lifestyle? All of these factors are important to keep in mind. Otherwise, you may find yourself getting discouraged by setting unrealistic standards for yourself that you cannot meet right away. You might place unnecessary strain on your body, and you could potentially injure yourself if you jump into intense cardio before you’re ready. 
Look at it this way: the average heart beats 60 to 80 times per minute. The targeted heart rate for cardio workouts is anywhere from 50% to 100% of that rate. Professional athletes or fitness enthusiasts may often be able to achieve a 90% increase in their normal heart rate, but that takes years of dedicated, disciplined training. Physical activity of that level conditions your heart and your muscles to achieve far higher levels of oxygen consumption. For someone just starting out, it’s not realistic - or even advisable - to aim for that level. 50% to 65% of your average heart rate generally considered ideal for beginners, and a 65% to 85% increase is realistic for intermediate levels. 
If you haven’t exercised for a while, it is important that you build up slowly. Instead of 30 minutes per day, five times a week, start with five minutes per day for three to five times a week. Each week, add two minutes to your routine until you’ve reached the CDC recommended goal of at least 30 minutes per day, three times a week. Once you’re comfortable at that level, try increasing your workouts to 30 to 60 minutes per day, five times a week.

The Benefits of Cardio Exercises
Studies have shown a myriad of potential health benefits of cardio. Perhaps the most direct benefit is the impact these workouts have on the efficiency of your cardiovascular system. Cardio may strengthen your heart, making it more efficient at pumping oxygenated blood through the body, and it may promote normal circulation through your blood vessels. It may also promote “good cholesterol” in your blood. Cardio may also promote normal muscle function by increasing oxygen consumption.* 
As you continue your workouts, adding to your routine and increasing the amount of time you spend exercising, cardio may help build stamina and improve your endurance. Many believe cardio can also help support immune system health, and may even have an impact on your mood or general state of mind.*
Cardio for Weight Loss
The efficacy of any form of exercise for weight loss depends on a variety of factors that may include your diet, genetic predispositions, and the frequency with which you work out. However, many experts agree that a consistent level of moderate cardiovascular exercise per week may contribute positively to weight management. 
Cardio requires energy, and your body derives energy from the food you eat. During digestion, your body breaks food down into proteins, fats, and carbohydrates. Fats and carbohydrates are used for energy. Carbs are the body’s first and most readily available source of energy; they are broken down into glucose that your body uses as fuel for metabolism and physical activity. Fats, on the other hand, are stored in adipose tissue.  
When your body uses up all the glucose in your blood, it burns energy from the fat it has stored. Fat becomes muscle fuel, but only once it has used all readily available glucose, so longer workouts are required to begin burning fat. Cardio also increases lean muscle, which increases your basal metabolic rate. Basal metabolic rate refers to the amount of calories required to sustain your body’s functions at rest, or when you’re not working out. *

Dietary Supplements
TLS® Weight Loss Solutions is a revolutionary program that goes far beyond weight loss. Through a four-pronged approach that includes diet, exercise, science-based supplementation, and education, TLS® seeks to guide you through a lifestyle transition, teaching positive behavior modification and empowering you to achieve your fitness, weight, and health goals. TLS® is about taking your life into your own hands, making the changes you need to achieve a well-balanced, more complete approach to your overall health.* 
Exercise is one of the tenants of the TLS® approach, and cardio is one of the most impactful exercises for those seeking to manage their weight. No single part of the TLS® approach is more important than the other; exercise must be supported by healthier eating, better decisions, and commitment. We offer several dietary supplements that may support you in your journey.

Armayor, Jill. “A List of the Benefits of Cardiovascular Endurance”. Livestrong. 24 Apr. 2015. Web. 06 Sep. 2017.
Benn, Belinda. “Are You Doing the Right Cardio?” 02 Oct. 2013. Web. 06 Sep. 2017. 
Kreger, Amy. “Definition of Cardio Exercise”. Livestrong. 27 Sep. 2013. Web. 06 Sep. 2017.
Weil, Richard, MEd CDE. “Aerobic Exercise”. 10 Aug. 2017. Web. 06 Sep. 2017. 
“Aerobic Exercise: Top 10 Reasons to Get Physical.” Mayo Clinic. 24 Feb. 2017. Web. 06 Sep. 2017.