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Fitness >>> Exercise Articles & News

Should You EVER Do Cardio?

By: Matt Furey
Best Selling Author of "Combat Conditioning"

What value does cardio have?

Good question.

For people just starting a fitness regimen, sprints are too intense. It is better for them to begin with 30-40 minute walks. These walks could be cut by 2/3 or more if the person walks up and down hills.

If you live in Ashland, Oregon, or some other place with hills the length of a country mile, and steep, too, then you can probably start with 5 minutes of hill walking.

Other than this, there is still some value in doing "cardio." And that value is for "stress reduction."

Sometimes it just FEELS better to go for a long walk, bike ride or run. I especially like to go for a 30-40 minute walk to clear the cobwebs from my mind - and believe me, sometimes there are plenty.

At other times I like to walk in order to meditate on a decision or to practice my deep breathing exercises, or to help with the digestion of a healthy meal. In China the people say, "If you take a short walk after you eat, you can live to be 100." Maybe, maybe not - but it does help with digestion.

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Here's my point: I am very clear on the benefits of sprints vs. cardio. If I want to maximize fat-burning, HGH building and muscle-moulding, I run sprints, preferably up hill. If I simply want to de-stress or ponder a specific matter, I walk, run or go for a swim. And simple as it is, I have found walking to do the trick best.

Bottom line: Sometimes it is a wise choice to simply... "slow down."

When I'm at my vacation home in China, one of the things that used to "drive me nuts" was how friends would say, "man man zuo" when it was time for a walk after dinner. "Man man zuo" means "walk slowly" or take your time, no rush.

Granted, I'm not going to do sprints right after a meal - but when the Chinese say "man man zuo" their perception of slow walking is light years different from mine. Slow walking to THEM is hands on hips or behind back - moving in slo-mo, almost like doing tai-chi.

I fought walking like this at first. Everything was HURRY UP. But now I blend right in and find comfort in this style of "walking." I walk this way with them because it is relaxation at its finest. It also helps prevent excessive sweating.

And when you're on a tropical island, this IS important.

Anyway, the key point of today's message is this: KNOW why you are doing what you are doing - and KNOW whether what you are doing is really giving you what you want.

If you're doing long sessions of cardio to burn fat, you're on a slow boat to nowhere. Don't know about you, but when I fly I want to get there fast.

Uphill sprints are like traveling first-class. Long slow cardio doesn't even get off the ground.

Copyright, Gold Medal Publications, Inc 2004


Editor's Note:

Be sure to take a look at Matt's Inner Circle - where you get online personalized training advice. Go Here and get started today.

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Copyright © 2004 Bob Cairns. All rights reserved.