by: E.C. LaMeaux
Steady state cardio is simply a cardio workout that is a continuous, steady effort, as opposed to an interval cardio workout where you vary your energy output. Any cardiovascular/aerobic activity that is sustained for an extended time (usually starting at about 10 to 15 minutes for beginners and 20 to 90 minutes for more fit athletes) at a fixed intensity qualifies as steady state cardio training.
There are many benefits of including a steady state cardio program as a part of your normal exercise routine. Steady state cardio exercises not only help you lose weight, but also help increase your endurance. And let’s face it, a good cardio workout can refresh your mindset and helps you bounce back from a bad mood or unmotivated state of mind. The benefits of steady state cardio don’t end there. A recent study published in Applied Physiology, Nutrition and Metabolism found that steady state cardio defends against insulin resistance by increasing insulin sensitivity.
It is easy to develop a steady state cardio routine, as there are so many activities and programs to choose from. A 45-minute steady cardio exercise on the treadmill, stair climber, bike or elliptical is a great way to implement a cardio program into your exercise regimen. If you enjoy working out outside, jogging, biking, walking, and hiking outside are also a great way to implement a steady state cardio program into your normal workout routine.
If you are a beginner and looking to develop a steady state cardio routine, start with 15 minutes of steady cardio and shoot for a target heart rate of lower than 55 percent of your maximum heart rate. Gradually increase your steady state training to a 20 minute cardio routine, eventually going up to 30 to 90 minutes. Intermediate and advanced steady state cardio enthusiasts should aim for a heart rate level of 65 to 90 percent of their maximum heart rate. Lastly, engage in a cardio program three to five times a week for ultimate heart health.
While you need time to build endurance, a routine with too low of an intensity, even if carried out for 45 minutes, will not bring you the results you crave. You need to push yourself in order to increase your steady state cardio, burn calories, and tone muscles. Here's a good rule of thumb: If you can easily hold a conversation with the person on the treadmill next to you, consider increasing intensity.