A regular cardio routine is great for your heart, mind, and waistline, but yours may be doing you more harm than good. Whether your weight-loss efforts have plateaued or you keep being sidelined by injuries, check our five dos and don'ts of cardio to make sure you avoid making big cardio mistakes.
- Do make it count: If you've logged yet another slow elliptical session for the week, it's time to pick up the pace for a few of your workouts. Adding interval training to your normal cardio routine helps you burn more calories and increase your endurance. High-intensity interval workouts like this 45-minute belly-fat-blasting treadmill workout will up the burn and ensure you're not wasting your time.
- Don't only do cardio: You're not going to see results if you only do your favorite type of cardio workout. If you want to build muscle, burn more calories, and lose more weight, you have to add strength training to the mix as well. Tack on one of our 10-minute strength-training workouts before or after your run in order to build up those metabolism-boosting muscles.
- Do start slow: Going out for a full sprint on the treadmill can cause injury and burnout. Warm up your muscles safely so you can put in an effective workout. Start with five minutes of jogging, uphill walking, or slower reps on the bike or elliptical so you can prime your muscles for your full workout. Alternatively, you can take a few minutes to do a dynamic warmup before you head out.
- Don't do too much: Yes, there is such thing as too much of a good thing. Even if you've upped your cardio routine for weight-loss reasons, you shouldn't go overboard — overtraining can lead to fatigue and injury. Stay aware of how your body feels and cut back on your cardio if you're feeling overworked and tired.
- Do mix it up: You may be a running addict, but doing the same workout all the time can get tedious. Make sure you keep things fresh by changing your route, playlist, or type of cardio regularly. You'll keep from plateauing while expanding your workout horizons.