Is Cardio Worth It?

Is Cardio Really Worth It?

We’ve all heard the science.  And we all know science doesn’t lie, right? All that work on your cardio only to burn 300 calories, which is 1 or 2 cookies. So you have to wonder, “Is Cardio Really Worth It?” 

Yes, it’s worth it! You just have to understand the psychological impact of cardio, as well as the combined impact of the daily cardio burn.

So, we have heard the argument…

Is it really worth it to grind on the treadmill for 20 minutes? You only burn 300 calories, which is one cookie! Now some people really enjoy doing cardio. They actually look forward to that 30 minutes of grind and hustle.  But if you’re like most people, you would probably prefer to be taking it easy, or better yet, eating that cookie.

Are you one of the 80% of Americans doing almost no cardio each week? Become an eagle in the 20% today and change your life! Cardio has many benefits that are life-changing, and will not only improve your health but will improve your life!

Yes, Cardio is Worth It!

So is cardio really worth it? Why not just eat 300 calories less on your cardio days and avoid all the hassle! Makes sense, right? If the science is right, it’s all about calories burned vs calories consumed. And yes, the science is right, but there is more to this story.

The Psychological Impact of Daily Cardio

Is Cardio Worth It?First, when you do your cardio, there is just something on the inside that affects you and your mentality. It is hard to put into words, and is most certainly sub-conscious. But you will see the effects on the scale when you weigh each week. It is like magic.

Subconsciously you will be wired to practice better habits. It is almost like your insides are telling your brain “Hey, we did that jog this morning for 20 minutes, so let’s not throw it all away at lunchtime!”

Start on a Monday morning by weighing in, and then go thru your week eating your basal metabolic rate calorie count (BMR). And do no cardio.  Weigh yourself on Friday morning, and record that weight.

The next week, do the same routine, except this time eat a few hundred calories over your BMR, but also do 20 minutes of good cardio. Then weigh-in on Friday morning and compare the numbers. Now, there are other factors at play here, such as how much walking you do during the normal course of the day in each week, etc.

But all other things being equal you will no doubt yield better results during the week you do cardio. It is part mental, part physiological, part sub-conscious, part whatever…it just happens!  Guaranteed.

Cardio Impact Over Time for Weight Loss

Equally important as the psyche of cardio, is the cumulative effect of cardio. So yes, 20 minutes of cardio only burns 300 calories. But let’s look at the combined effect of this cardio over the course of a month…and a year.

So if you do everything the same in terms of diet, and add 6 days of cardio in your week to your normal workout routine.

Weekly impact:
300 cal x 6 days = 1,800 calories
[1/2 pound of weight loss weekly]

Monthly impact:
300 cal x 24 days = 7,200 calories
[2 pounds of weight loss monthly]

Annual impact:
7,200 calories x 12 months = 86,400 calories
[24 pounds of weight loss annually]

So the cumulative effect over the course of a year is huge, so when it comes to daily calorie burn with cardio, make sure you take the “long view.” That’s where the impact really adds up.

And it also helps, along with cardio, to watch your calories if you’re trying to lose weight. It does not have to be a perfect science, but if you have a general idea of your calorie burn and your calorie intake then you’ll be light years ahead of most!

And click the button below to learn your target daily calories for weight loss.

Regular Cardio Health Benefits

When you incorporate regular cardio into your lifestyle and your routine, you will improve your weight, your fitness, and your overall health.  That really is the science.

cardio-energylevelsHere are some of the quick benefits of a great cardio plan: (1)

  • Improved blood circulation
  • Improved skin (circulation)
  • Weight control
  • More energy
  • Controlling blood pressure

There are also many other benefits to a consistent cardio program.

Click to see more cardiovascular posts.

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David Williams

A diet and fitness enthusiast, David is an ex-Army Airborne Ranger and Infantry soldier with decades of fitness and wellness experience. A West Point graduate with a degree in engineering, he focuses on technical research related to fitness, nutrition, and wellness. He loves the beach and working out, and spending time with his wife and daughters.

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  1. Cardio exercises benefit more than just your heart. (2024, April 30). Cleveland Clinic.

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