There are pros and cons to steady cardio and interval cardio workouts. The best choice for you depends on what goals you are trying to accomplish with your workout. Let’s take a look at steady versus interval cardio workouts to see which one best fits your needs.
Pros of Steady State Cardio Workouts
One pro of steady state cardio workouts is that they are perfect for beginners. The thing about steady state workouts is that they allow beginners to start off at their own pace and increase their productivity in time. Steady cardio workouts, like the elliptical, cycle and treadmill, are great ways to build your confidence, stamina and strength. More examples of steady state cardio workouts include walking, jogging, and even certain types of aerobics.
Another pro of steady state cardio workouts is that they can be less demanding than interval cardio workouts, depending on how often and how long you do them. A good steady state cardio can help you to burn fat and tone your body through low impact, steady movements. This also means that you will have a smaller chance of getting injured or hurting yourself in the process.
Cons of Steady State Cardio Workouts
On the other hand, many people find steady state workouts to be boring and redundant. This mindset hurts your productivity tremendously. Let’s face it; if you aren’t into your workout, chances are you will not stick with it.
Another problem with steady paced cardio is that you may not feel the effects now, but more and more studies are showing that people who have done large amounts of steady cardio over an extended amount of time, have arthritis and joint ailments. So it may be good for awhile, but doing steady cardio exclusively might hurt you in the long run.
Pros of Interval Cardio Workouts
One pro of interval cardio is that it can be a little more fun and engaging than steady cardio. With interval cardio workouts, you are mixing up your work out and keeping your mind and body alert in the process. A good example of interval cardio would be instead of you walking around the block, you would walk half of the block, and then power walk the other half, and repeat on your way back. Another example would be biking for a block and then hopping off your bike to jog a block, and so on. Some people like to get on the elliptical and warm up, then switch it up with short burst runs, instead of just staying at a steady pace for 30 minutes. Are you starting to see a pattern? There are plenty more ways to incorporate interval cardio, but those are some basic ways to start.
Another great thing about interval training is that is more effective in keeping access fat burning and toning your muscles over the long haul. With interval cardio workouts, your muscles have to constantly adjust to a new movement. In this way, interval training can be more effective than steady cardio training alone.
Cons of Interval Cardio Workouts
One con of interval cardio workouts is that they are scary to many people. They seem “too intense” for beginners. People who are not in shape, haven’t worked out in a long time, or are overweight may shy away from these workouts, as they do seem to be a bit much.
Another turn-off of interval cardio workouts is that if they are not done correctly, you could really hurt yourself by straining a muscle or working until exhaustion sets in. Sometimes people don’t realize that the object of interval cardio workouts is not about quantity, it is about quality.
Overall, if you’re looking for the effectiveness of both fat burning and muscle toning, interval wins hands down. But steady cardio workouts aren’t useless. It is just a matter of what you are comfortable with doing and how you are doing it.