The Article Gist in 3 Paragraphs

The same cardio workout, done repetitively, over a period of time might not have the effect you want. This is true for those who run, cycle or use a treadmill, especially if that’s your only exercise. The problem with cardio workouts like this is that they tend to be repetitive. This means that:

  1. Your muscles get used to the repetition
  2. If it’s high intensity the body can become exhausted if you don’t take the right rest periods
  3. Once the initial challenge wears off the workout can be de motivating

This article looks at the above three challenges and what you can do about them. It also includes opinions from respected fitness experts and therapists about the impact of cardio on the body.

Digging Deeper Into Cardio Workouts

If you are like most people you might be aware that running, cycling, swimming and walking will burn a lot of calories. Because we know this, we perceive that a cardio workout is the best way to lose weight.

Your Muscles Get Used To The Repetition

It’s not unusual to see people at the gym spending 30-45 minutes on a running machine. It’s also not unusual to pass the same runner at the same time every day or week, doing the same run. These people will develop a level of cardio and burn some calories, but, after a few repetitions their muscles get used to the exercise, motivation can plateau and the benefits can start to dwindle.

The first time you perform a cardio workout, you might find that you tire towards the end and suffer with a little lactic acid the next day. The next time you repeat the workout (assuming it’s within 5-7 days) you may have similar results. By the third and fourth workouts the fatigue and the lactic acid will likely be none existent.

High Intensity Workouts Can Exhaust Your Body

If you repeat the same cardio exercise day after day, it can have a negative impact.  For example, if you run every day or even take a HIIT class, your body will burnout. Sometimes this is called, Adrenal fatigue, where the body aches, feels tired and lethargy sets in.

Mack Massage, specialist in Sports Therapy in Greater Manchester says.  “If you do cardio exercise regularly you can’t help but use your muscles in repetitive movement, in order to get fit or improve your performance. Yes, the muscle gets bigger/stronger and stamina increases but the muscle also shortens and pulls on the bones and joints (e.g. runners, whose knees and feet often turn inwards because the muscles have rotated the femur ) This in turn can affect the rest of your body as it will naturally adjust itself to compensate. Eventually this causes an imbalance in the body’s natural alignment and you can end up with postural issues which is usually accompanied by pain and discomfort. If your training is high impact or intensive then a regular sports massage at least once a month can be beneficial to help tone and condition the muscles, prevent misalignment and ease pain from overuse ”

Finding Motivation In Your Cardio Workouts

Repeating the same run, walk or bike ride time-after-time can lead to diminishing motivation i.e. you might find it harder to get started. You might also stop pushing yourself as much during the cardio workout, losing some of the benefits.

One of the biggest reasons people stop exercising is: lack of interest. If it’s NOT fun, its hard to stay motivated.

Making Your Cardio Workouts Interesting

Exercise however doesn’t have to be restricted to cardio workouts.

Exercise can include sports and team games like football, rugby, hockey, tennis or squash. It can include walking, swimming, dancing, biking, rowing and HIIT. It can also include something more extreme like water skiing, surfing or an Iron Man competition. Some people enjoy using exercise as a social activity, joining a walking group or just walking with friends. Others prefer working out in isolation. Some people find that they prefer light exercise, others lean towards something more vigorous. Some people want to exercise to maintain a good level of fitness, others like to enter races and challenges. Some do this for personal challenge i.e. using a fun run as a milestone or goal that gives their exercise more meaning. Others like to compete to see if they can come high up in the field.

Sometimes it can be good to mix up your cardio workouts. For example, after running during the summer, you can try a different cardio workout during the autumn or winter. You could try Cardio drumming or an at “home workout” livestreamed to your phone or TV.

Here is our review on cardio drumming: The results show that it was incredibly good for getting the heart rate to rise quickly.

Paul Midgley teaches Cardio drumming. He says, It’s good for individuals and groups of all ages and abilities. It’s great for fitness in the body and mind, it reduces stress, improves circulation and is a lot of fun.”

This kind of workout makes exercise interesting as you might feel you have mastered something other than putting one foot in front of another.

Getting The Right Balance With Exercise

You can also vary your exercise routines, to include balance, flexibility and strength as well as endurance.

Health and Fitness Coach, Steve Denby says, ‘Aerobic exercise does not deliver the needed stress to your bones, muscles and tendons. In order to build strength, you have to pull hard on tendons, do microscopic damage to your muscles and literally bend your bones.  Going out for a run or putting in an hour on the treadmill will not do this sufficiently.

This is not to say that aerobic exercise is not important: it is!  But it is not resistance training.  You need both.  And if you omit one, you do your body a great disservice.’

Questly is a great resource for discovering the right balance of exercise for you. The Fitness Quest helps you explore the best advice – Government Guidelines on exercise versus advice from personal trainers. It will also help you decide on the right frequency and intensity for you. Questly will also help you find motivational fitness events happening near you, so you can work towards goals.


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