If there’s one thing that all fitness coaches can agree on is that cardio should never be skipped!
Cardio exercises are good for you no matter where you are on your health and fitness journey. They are excellent for weight-loss, they help increase your stamina, help relieve stress, help prepare you for your workouts, and even aid in quickening the process of healing from an injury.
Doctors also recommend cardio exercises for the majority of their patients, both young and old, as these exercises lower cholesterol and blood pressure and keep heart diseases at bay!
Popular types of cardio workouts:
Broadly speaking, there are three main types of cardio workouts – HIIT, MISS, and LISS.
Within these umbrella terms, you can find the exercises that people usually associate with cardio, like running, cycling, walking, jogging, and so on.
HIIT stands for High-Intensity Interval Training. While this form of cardio is great for burning fat and burning it quickly, it is oftentimes viewed as being too difficult by many people. It requires a ton of motivation and effort, which deters people from opting for HIIT as a preferred mode of cardio workout. It is definitely ideal if you lack the time to go on a long jog or walk though.
MISS stands for Moderate-Intensity Steady State. This type of cardio workout involves activities like jogging and running. MISS workouts help build endurance and increase the activity of one’s metabolism. And since they are not as difficult as HIIT exercises, they are considered as more doable. Further, although these forms of cardio exercises are great for weight loss, their limitations include the possibility of burning both fat and protein.
LISS stands for Low-Intensity Steady State. Walking can be included in this category of cardio exercises. These forms of cardio workouts are perfect for those with a sedentary lifestyle who do not want to expose their bodies to sudden and difficult exercises. They are easy to implement and can be made fun and relaxing while maintaining their effectiveness. Limitations include that one cannot usually build much muscle on LISS cardio workouts.
Swimming as a cardio workout of choice
In the above list, we missed one very important form of cardio workouts – swimming. We omitted it on purpose because swimming is such a wonderful form of cardio workout that it deserves its own honorable mention.
Swimming as a cardio workout of choice has the following benefits:
- Burns calories
- Helps de-stress and relax
- Proven to alleviate feelings of anxiety and depression
- Improves sleep
- Increases metabolism rate
- Decreases body fat percentage
Additionally, because your body weight is mostly supported by water while swimming, this exercise allows you to stay active while healing from an injury. It is also considered a full body workout, depending on the particular exercises you choose to go for.
Is it better to swim or run for cardio?
From the comparison done above, we can deduce that swimming is in fact the best form of cardio! Although running may arguably be the most common, swimming is slowly making its way to the top as more people discover its advantages over other forms of cardio workouts.
The best part is that swimming can be a lot of fun, and it is never too late to get into swimming, even if you don’t have any swimming skills whatsoever.
A great place to start would be to check out our recommended adult swim lessons!!
How long should I swim for cardio?
The answer entirely depends on your age, weight, physical condition, and health status. However, on average, 30 minutes of swimming, three times a week should be enough, although more is definitely encouraged!