Treadmills : Movement :: Diets : Eating
I have nothing against aerobic activity. Aerobic activities can be very fun: skiing, hiking, swimming, ultimate frisbee… laser tag… whatever. It can be life-affirming, endorphin-releasing and awesome. (And walking! One of my favorite things to do is walking with my iPod. Seriously.)
But sustained, extreme cardio for long-term weight loss OR EVEN for health? Not so much.
1. Cardio Makes Me Hungry
Cardio Burns Calories. So it makes you hungry, naturally. If you don’t eat to hunger your body thinks it is starving (and you will be miserable)- which lowers metabolism, so if you ever stop your militant regimen it will be easy to gain weight. If you do eat to hunger, you will not lose weight. (Because a + b – b = a. Or something.) And thirdly, if you are like me, you will be so hungry at night by trying to “be good” all day, you will overeat or binge, and gain weight. And be very mad.
2. Cardio Stresses Me Out Mentally
It lends itself easily to disordered eating mentalities. You “burn” something off. You “pay” for the food you ate earlier. It can easily become punitive and filled with guilty thoughts. “I should have gone running this morning- I don’t deserve to sit here so quietly doing cats cradle”. Also intense cardio is hard and I would dread it, then not do it, then feel guilty. Or do it, and get addicted to it and it’s promise of everlasting beauty, and then what if I couldn’t that day…. and God, the showering logistics!
3. Cardio Stresses Me Out Physically
Once it would become part of my militant regimen, I would undoubtedly injure my foot or my knee from overuse and God-given poor alignment, then I wouldn’t be able to stick to my regimen, and it would stress me out mentally. See where I am going with this?
4. Apparently, It Isn’t That Great Anyway
It apparently increases systemic inflammation, raises cortisol, encourages muscle loss and fat storage. As well as being annoying and making me want to punch people in the face.
You can read more here, for some science-y stuff. I only have the wherewithal to speak on personal experience.
So, What To Do?
If you want do organized exercise: random sprints and strength training are the way to go. Both things only need to be a few times a week, if that.
I now walk a lot (NYC) and do 15-20 minutes of yoga in my room a few times a week. I might lift weights if I didn’t hate gyms so much.
But please, figure out what works for you! In the comments I wanna hear your relationship with cardio, and whether you found it to be a lying bitch or not!