We’ve all heard the science. And we all know science doesn’t lie, right? All that work on the 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.
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 Cardio
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. 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 and it sucked, so let’s not throw it all away at lunchtime!”
Do a test run for yourself, and you will see that somehow the science is off on this one. Unexplainably.
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. I have seen this time and again. It is part mental, part physiological, part sub-conscious, part whatever…it just happens! Guaranteed.
Cardio Impact Over Time
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 to your normal routine.
300 cal x 6 days = 1,800 calories
[1/2 pound of weight loss]
300 cal x 24 days = 7,200 calories
[2 pounds of weight loss]
7,200 calories x 12 months = 86,400 calories
[24 pounds of weight loss]
So the cumulative effect over the course of a year is huge, so when it comes to daily calorie burn with cardio, make sure to take the “long view.”
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.
Here are some of the quick benefits of a great cardio plan:
- Improved blood circulation
- Improved skin (circulation)
- Improved heart health
- Weight control
- Reduced cancer risk
(read which cancers are reduced here)
- More energy
- Controlling blood pressure
There are also many other benefits to a consistent cardio program.