Though he spent most of his time on camera, covering major sports events, Nick’s life-long dream was to become a sports columnist. Today, Nick researches and covers workout routines, exercise-related tips and tricks and sports diets. In need of an effective training routine? Look no further than Nick’s articles.+ info
There's recently been a strong increase in people who choose to practice HIIT, High-Intensity Interval Training, in hopes of keeping their body healthy and fit. However, there are many aspects in which this workout type isn't the best for your body. Instead, sometimes low impact cardio exercises can be the most beneficial, and this is why.
Low impact cardio includes certain exercises focused on moving the body while raising your heart rate gradually to an optimal zone. While it's increased with every movement, with different ways to maintain blood flow and blood pressure, the heart rate is lowered with small breaks in between, even though they aren't enough to allow a significant drop. On the other hand, HIIT demands a higher and more sudden heart rate raise, which increases exhaustion levels.
People who choose HIIT often end up collapsed on the floor after a session, completely exerted. Although this is seen as the best way to achieve the results you were looking for, it often requires a good amount of motivation to begin exercising. Instead, low impact cardio workouts are easier to include in your everyday routine, as they don't stress your body excessively nor leave you gasping for breath after working out. Even though it may not seem as important, not having to psych yourself up for exercise can help your mind and body make the most of it.
Other reasons why low impact cardio can bring you more health benefits to your body are related to your body's cortisol production. This is also called the stress hormone and is triggered not only by everyday worries but also by certain types of exercise. As you may have guessed, HIIT boosts a higher cortisol response than low cardio workouts.
The results of higher cortisol levels in your body can be harmful in many ways. On one hand, the body's equipped to enter a fight-or-flight mode when highly stressed, which causes trouble when trying to fall asleep as well as stronger mood swings. It also becomes difficult to relax afterward, which is why HIIT can leave you exhausted and hyped up at the same time. However, low impact cardio exercises allow a parasympathetic response that works well to balance digestion and relaxation.
Another consequence of high cortisol production is lower fat burning levels, caused by the body's reaction to what it identifies as a stressful situation. In essence, it clings onto fat to prevent running out of energy and simultaneously boosts insulin production. As a result, your body burns less fat and craves more sugar and caffeine. Your muscle mass can also be negatively affected by cortisol, which is why it's an overall ineffective way to lose weight. Instead, low impact cardio was proven to burn fat as well as increase the body's resistance.
Your body's stress levels also affect its recovery time after a workout session. They multiply the effects and soreness on both your body and mind, which results in you being extra tired and requiring many days to physically and mentally recover. Starting the next HIIT session when your muscles aren't properly recovered can negatively affect them! You can also experience a worse performance, which is very counterproductive if you're working out to stay healthy and train your body.
Choosing low cardio exercises can be very beneficial for you, mostly because of their effects aid recovery. They can reduce stiffness, get rid of inflammation, boost blood flow, and improve your flexibility! They're also a good alternative because they don't include any potential risks of constant stress and high cortisol levels, such as chronic inflammation, higher risks of injuries, over-exertion of the immune system, and others.
In addition to boosting cortisol production, HIIT puts a lot of pressure on your joints and muscles, especially those in your legs, knees, and ankles. While moving them is a great way to combat sedentarism, over-exerting your lower body can be too harsh on your muscles and joints, which in turn may increase the risks of injury. Low impact cardio exercises are more gentle ways to move your body, as they don't require fast movements that put extra weight on your legs and feet. What's more, they're effective while still leaving one foot on the floor all the time!
Getting some exercise is a key element for a healthy body, but it’s important to choose the best option for you and make the most of it. What are you waiting for?