Hitting the pavement, jumping on the elliptical, or pedaling on your Peloton? When it comes to cardio, most people have heard that just 30 minutes is enough time to make a difference, but is it?
Thirty minutes of cardio is enough to initiate important health benefits. You can improve your health and jumpstart or enhance your fitness plan quickly. Adding strength training and a proper diet help round out a fitness routine, but 30 minutes of cardio is enough to put you on the wellness path.
Doing the “right” things when getting in shape or remaining in shape is essential. Read on to understand better how cardio plays an integral part in any fitness plan.
Are 30 Minutes of Cardio per Day Good?
Indeed, 30 minutes of cardio per day is good. The Department of Health and Human Services recommends a moderate level of exercise for 150 minutes (or five 30-minute workouts) per week for strong physical, mental, and cardiovascular health. If exercising vigorously, 75 minutes a week is recommended.
When the weather is pleasant, getting outside for a walk or hopping on a bike is a great idea. That’s not always possible, though.
When the weather doesn’t cooperate or you need an alternative to get outside, you might consider the trending Peloton bike with paid-subscription workouts guaranteed to get you moving and sweating.
Knowing your overall goals is a good start to determining how much exercise you need. If you want to lose weight, for example, is it better to exercise longer? Here are a few reasons people exercise and time recommendations based on overall goals:
Will 30 Minutes Cardio Help You to Lose Weight?
According to Jennifer Warner, a writer for WebMD, “Thirty minutes of exercise a day may be the magic number to lose weight.” In fact, 30 minutes of exercise may be even better for you than exercising for an entire hour.
A recent study, published in the American Journal of Physiology, followed a group of men for three months. Half of the men exercised enough to sweat for 30 minutes each day, while the other half exercised enough to sweat for 60 minutes per day.
At the end of the trial, the men who exercised 30 minutes lost an average of two pounds more than the men who exercised 60 minutes. These results, though impressive, are surprising. In general, 30 minutes is an excellent starting point for cardio.
However, those wanting to lose weight may need to increase their workout time, intensity, or frequency to take off their wanted pounds.
Is 30 Min Cardio Enough To Get Fit?
Getting fit takes work. It doesn’t happen overnight. Cardio exercise is an excellent way to spearhead your goal to get fit and feel your best.
The best cardio exercises aren’t always the most strenuous. Try jumping rope while listening to music. Go on a bike ride outside instead of using the bike at the gym.
Run or walk outside one day, then change things up by using an elliptical machine the next. If the weather is cooperative, go rowing or simply dance in your kitchen.
The key to getting fit is moving often and moving with intent. Work up a sweat, and your body will reward you handsomely with overall health.
What Can 30 Minutes of Cardio a Day Do For You?
It’s no secret that cardio is good for your overall health. But do you know how good it can be? Whether your goal is to lose weight decrease stress, or just to feel better, your workout might be doing you more good than you anticipated.
Clinical exercise physiologist, Erik Van Iterson, states that regular cardio keeps your heart from always working hard unnecessarily. Just 30 minutes per day of exercise can help your overall health in ways that include:
- Brain health, including decreased risk of dementia or stroke.
- Joint health, lessening your symptoms or chances of developing osteoporosis or arthritis.
- Reduced risk of heart disease, cancer, and Type 2 Diabetes.
- Increases mood, energy, and even sexual function.
It’s incredible what can happen to your body and mine with just 30 minutes per day of cardio exercise.
How Many Days a Week Should You Do Cardio?
You should do cardio as many days a week as it takes to accomplish your recommended 150 hours of cardio per week. Most sites will recommend 30 minutes per day five days per week. However, you can choose to exercise fewer days for longer periods of time, if preferred.
Exercising every day is excellent for your overall health. Though most professionals recommend 30 minutes per day, five days per week of cardio, you can increase the recommended 150 minutes per week to 210 or more by exercising every day.
Try breaking up those 30 minutes by perhaps exercising in 10-minute spurts from time to time. Instead of exercising for one continual 30-minute timeframe, exercise for 10 minutes in the morning, 10 minutes in the afternoon, and another 10 minutes after dinner.
You’ll get similar results while perhaps maintaining a more doable schedule for your busy lifestyle.
Every Other Day
Exercising every other day can be a great use of your cardio time as well. Perhaps you’re already fit and can handle a bit more strenuous exercise. In this case, aim for 75 minutes per week of strenuous exercise by doing cardio for short stints of time.
Here are a few ways to bump up your exercise routine from the moderate level to the strenuous level:
- Try running instead of walking
- Set your treadmill to a higher incline position
- Add more resistance to your bike so that pedaling takes more effort
- Try sprinting for one minute during your workout
Cardio Alone Is Not Enough
Cardio is excellent for overall health. However, experts recommend adding resistance training to complete your workout routine.
Cardio is excellent for getting lean. Doing cardio workouts for 30 minutes per day and adding in strength training daily or every other day can improve your overall results and help you see and feel them faster.
If your goal is to keep muscle, you might want to increase the intensity of your strength training exercises in combination with cardio.
Once you get muscle, it isn’t permanent. You’ve got to work to keep it there. Strength training can help you to keep your muscles. When paired with your cardio program, you’ve got a dynamic duo of muscle-building and retaining super force!
Want to make your workout even more effective? Be sure to add in plenty of protein. It keeps your muscles strong and gives you energy for your cardio workouts as well.
What To Do if You Can’t Exercise for 30 Minutes at a Time
I get it; you’re busy. Perhaps you’re too busy to work out for 30 minutes at a time. Maybe you’re just starting and you simply don’t have the endurance. That’s okay! Try a Micro Workout. In as little as 10 minutes a day, you can still achieve great fitness results.
What To Do During Those 10 Minutes
If you only have 10 minutes instead of 30 and want to get as much impact as possible, try some of these activities:
- Jumping jacks
- Running up and down the stairs
- Riding a stationary bike or a bike outdoors
- Using an elliptical machine
- Running or briskly walking on a treadmill
- Jumping rope
The Facts Don’t Lie
A recent study found that people who exercised moderately for 45 minutes had little to no increase in overall health impact from those who exercised for 10 minutes with a routine that included one minute of sprints. Working out for less than 30 minutes per day doesn’t mean sacrificing overall health.
Not into sprinting? Change it up! You can still get a burst of intense activity without running. Try power jump roping instead with this DEGOL Skipping Rope from Amazon.com that even features memory foam handles to provide maximum strength and comfort.
Regardless of the “power” exercise you choose, you can still lose weight, increase your endurance, and help build a healthier heart, even if your time is limited.
How Much Cardio/What Type of Cardio Should You Do Based on Your Goals?
When beginning any exercise regimen, it is important to know what is effective and what is not. By adding 30 minutes of cardio to your exercise plan, you jumpstart your fitness routine or enhance your current motivation. Moving for 30 minutes is good for your heart and your overall health.
Combining 30 minutes of cardio with strength training a few days a week and a healthy diet will help you lead the active, healthy life you desire.
- Webmd.com: 30 Minutes of Daily Exercise Enough to Shed Pounds
- Amazon: Degol Skipping Rope With Ball Bearings
- Journals.physiology.org: Body Fat Loss
- Nwpc.com: Do Ten Minute Workouts Actually Help?
- Health.harvard.edu: How Much Cardio Should You Do?
- Mayoclinic.org: How Much Should the Average Adult Exercise Each Day?
- Verywellfit.com: Maintaining Your Muscle Mass So You Don’t Lose It
- Onepeloton.com: Peloton
- Health.clevelandclinic.org: The (Many) Benefits of a Cardio Workout
- Journals.plos.org: Twelve Weeks of Sprint Interval Training