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Why I Hate Cardio... kinda.

cardiointervals fitnessforwomenover40 fitnessforwomenover50 fitnessinmenopause fitnessover40 fitnesstips getfitover40 getfitover50 hiit menopausefitness Jul 04, 2022

I still see so many women default to the mindset that the path to weight loss and body composition change is “Eat Less, Exercise More.” And that more usually comes in the way of lots of cardio.  

 

What’s worse… when they don’t see the results they’re looking for, they double down – more calorie restriction, more cardio. 

 

It’s a vicious cycle. And it comes at a high cost (I’ll touch on that in a sec).

 

I’m not a big fan of cardio – personally, and as a professional who works exclusively with midlife women.

 

Personally, it’s never been my jam. I’ve tried. I really have. I fell into the “cardio must be the thing” mentality. So I would go jogging. Poorly (insert image of a walrus trucking down a hot sidewalk). I even did a few 10K’s (I discovered I like parades, but not running – who knew?). 

 

But I do like the endorphins – BIG fan of that!  And I love Dancing, Hiking, and anything Boxing related. So, like a Facebook relationship status: “It’s Complicated” (Is that still a thing?)

 

Cardio offers important health benefits (heart and health, mood, blood pressure, etc.), so it definitely should be a part of your weekly fitness routine. And I program it in my Bolder STRONG programs. 

 

However, there’s an important caveat it has to be the right kind of cardio, in the right amount, at the right time.  

 

For midlife women, lots of long, slow cardio is no longer your friend. It can increase inflammation, cortisol (fat storage), cause muscle loss, and accelerate aging.

Interval training (HIIT), however, is great for midlife women. We need intensity – in both cardio and strength training. We even need impact for maintaining bone density. So unless you have osteopenia, osteoporosis or joint issues, don’t be afraid of higher impact work – it’s how our bones get stimulated to grow! 

 

For women in peri and post-menopause, I recommend adding a couple of short cardio interval workouts – not to exceed 45 minutes total a week. The HIIT workouts in my Bolder STRONG programs are all just 20-25 minutes. Push hard, fully recover, and get on with your day! 

 

How Hard Should You Push? Your goal is breathlessness, followed by full recovery (you can calmly breathe in and out through your nose). On a scale of 1-10, aim for an 8-9 on the “work” portion. On the recovery, get to a 2-3 before your next push interval.

 

Why Do Cardio Intervals (HIIT)? 

  • They boost visceral (belly) fat burning compared to long, slow cardio.  
  • They’re time efficient – just 10 - 20 minutes, plus warm up/cool down.  
  • You’ll feel energized afterwards, not exhausted. 
  • They support hormone balance (Tip: Do intervals early in the day to support hormones)
  • They keep your brain actively engaged, which prevents boredom.
  • Intervals can be used for any kind of cardio  
  • Workouts can be adapted to all levels of fitness.

 

My advice to Cardio Bunnies: If you love it, you feel great, and are happy with your results – DO IT! Just don’t overdo it. Cardio works best when it’s short, intense, and infrequent – and part of a balanced program that includes Strength Training and Mobility work. 

 

I know a trainer who says “Cardio is a condiment.” I love that. Pepper it in, but make Strength Training your main course

 

Want Support? If what you’re doing isn’t getting you results, or you want to get moving but aren’t sure where to start, I’ve got you!  Boost your energy, feel better and stronger in just 7 days with quick, effective workouts for women over 40. Join my FREE 7-Day Recharge here.

 

Running Late is my Cardio,

RITA

Learn more about how to "Make Midlife Bolder!"