Cardio is a great way to stay fit and healthy, but it can also lead to muscle loss if it is not done correctly. This article will showcase the potential risks of doing too much cardio and the types of cardio that are best for building muscle. In this article, we’ll read about can cardio lead to muscle loss. Read our comprehensive guide below.
Benefits Of Cardio Exercises
Before we go into the topic at hand, let us take a peek at some benefits of cardio.
- Improves cardiovascular health: Cardio exercises, such as cycling, running and swimming, help to improve the health of your heart and blood vessels by increasing your heart rate and oxygen flow. Over time, this can reduce your risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, and stroke.
- Improves lung function: Cardio exercises can also increase the strength and efficiency of your lungs, which can lead to better breathing and overall respiratory health. It is one of the biggest benefit of cardio exercises.
- Boosts metabolism: Regular cardio workouts can increase your metabolism, helping you burn more calories and lose weight.
- Reduces stress: Cardio exercises release endorphins, which are feel-good hormones that can reduce stress and anxiety.
- Improves mental health: Cardio workouts can also improve your mood, lower symptoms of depression, and boost your overall mental well-being.
- Enhances endurance: Over time, cardio exercises can help to increase your endurance and stamina, making it easier to perform other physical activities.
- Boosts immune system: Regular cardio workouts have been known to boost the immune system, making it easier to fight off illness and disease. It is one of the most important benefit of cardio exercises
How Does Cardio Cause Muscle Loss?
The main cause of muscle reduction due to fasted cardio is the rapid decrease of muscle glycogen levels, which leads the body to start using protein (muscle) as an energy source. It’s important to note, however, that you will have to do an extensive amount of cardio – lasting for at least an hour or more – to considerably decrease glycogen levels.
Potential Risks Of Doing Too Much Cardio
A workout that involves too much cardio can lead to muscle loss. The result could be too much muscle soreness, even in areas that are not involved in your workout. Excessive cardio can cause the following:
- Overuse injury: Doing too much cardio can lead to overuse injuries such as shin splints, knee pain, or stress fractures.
- Decreased performance: Excessive cardio can lead to decreased strength and power, as well as fatigue.
- Decreased muscle mass: Cardio can burn muscle mass, leading to a decrease in overall strength.
- Immune system suppression: Prolonged, intense cardio can suppress the immune system, which can make you more susceptible to illness.
- Menstrual dysfunction: Women who do too much cardio may experience menstrual irregularities or even stop menstruating altogether.
- Increased stress hormone production: Excessive cardio can increase the production of stress hormones such as cortisol, which can have negative effects on the body. You can enroll in an online fitness class to get personalized help.
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Top 5 Cardio Exercises For Building Or Strengthening Muscles
To preserve your muscle mass, you should be aware of your caloric intake and include some kind of strength training in your schedule. Strength training is a type of strain that causes the muscles to get bigger and stronger, resulting in more muscle mass. Here are some cardio exercises that can also help you in building muscles.
- Burpees: Burpees are a high-intensity exercise that raises your heart rate and improves cardiovascular endurance. They help build and tone muscles, especially in the chest, arms, legs, and glutes. This is one of the most famous cardio exercises.
- Jump rope: Jumping rope is an effective form of cardio exercise that can increase heart rate, improve endurance, and burn calories. It helps in strengthening muscles as it works multiple muscle groups, including the legs, glutes, and core.
- Mountain climbers: Mountain climbers are a high-intensity exercise that elevates heart rate, leading to improved cardiovascular endurance. This exercise engages multiple muscle groups, including the shoulders, arms, core, and legs, making it an effective full-body workout. They also target the abdominal muscles and work the rectus abdominis, obliques, and transverse abdominis, which helps to improve core strength.
- High-intensity interval training (HIIT): HIIT increases heart rate and improves cardiovascular health, lowering the risk of heart disease, stroke, and other conditions. HIIT is an excellent way to build muscle mass, which leads to improved strength, speed, and power.
- Rowing: Rowing is an excellent low-impact cardiovascular workout that improves endurance and overall cardiovascular fitness. It is a full-body workout that involves multiple muscle groups, including the arms, back, shoulders, legs, and core. Regular rowing will help build and tone muscles, improve posture, and increase overall strength. This is one of the most common cardio exercises
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Can Cardio Lead To Muscle Loss? Conclusion
Doing cardio can lead to muscle loss if it is not balanced with strength training and adequate protein intake. Cardio can burn calories, and if you are not consuming enough calories or protein, your body may start to break down muscle tissue for energy. Working out is also important for pregnant women and those with infertility problems. Additionally, if you do a lot of cardio and do not engage in strength training to maintain muscle mass, you may lose muscle mass over time. It’s important to have a balanced exercise routine that includes both cardio and strength training, as well as a healthy diet to support muscle growth and recovery.