I’m often asked what is the best form of “cardio” training?
[A side-note for the uninitiated: I often put ‘cardio’ in quotes because it’s a term that a lot of people mistakenly think refers only to ‘fat burning’ exercise (read: long duration/low intensity/boredom). I’d more accurately address the topic as Energy System (ES) training and recommend specific training protocols based on individual needs, abilities and preferences. For purposes of this post, let cardio mean whatever you currently understand it to mean]
So let’s say you have a car that gets typical fuel economy. If you drive anything like I do and depress the gas pedal with your right foot, you get 18mpg.
If you feel a little spunky and want to use your left foot, you’re still gonna get 18mpg.
Now if you’re feeling uncharacteristically funky and want to drive using a toilet plunger, guess what – still 18mpg.
If you think of “cardio” as the way you step on the gas and rev your engine (aka: heart), a gym full of treadmills, cross-trainers and bikes isn’t going to be any more effective at doing that than a $5 jump-rope.
Just how many feet (or bathroom implements) can you realistically use to depress the accelerator pedal at one time anyway?
As long as you’re able to effectively manipulate your heart rate, minimize risk of injury and ENJOY whatever mode of exercise you choose to do, THAT is the ‘best’ form of “cardio” – even if you choose to use your toilet plunger as a pogo-stick.
There is another reason I recommend jump-ropes: It’s kind of tough to throw a treadmill in your suitcase when you travel.