Varying the intensity in your workout is a great way to change things up and see faster results. It is important to force your body and muscles to constantly have to adapt so that you do not plateau on your road to success. Two popular varieties are low- and high-intensity cardio, and both have their own benefits.
High-Intensity Cardiovascular Exercise is considered an exercise that increases your heart rate to 75 percent of its max or more, depending on your current physical condition.
• Increasing your metabolism
• Burning more calories (than low intensity)
• Quicker results
• Continuing to burn fat and grow muscles after your workout is complete
• Helping to increase your aerobic activity threshold, allowing you to gradually adapt and improve your endurance
• Burning more fat, especially after a strength training workout (This is because once your glycogen stores are depleted from weight lifting, doing a high intensity workout requires your body to pull from fat stores for energy.)
Low-Intensity cardiovascular exercise is considered an exercise that increases your heart rate anywhere from 50 to 60 percent of its max.
• It works well for mixing intensities
• It’s beneficial for the elderly, people recovering from injuries or illness and someone just beginning to workout
• Improving your cardiovascular system, including your circulation
• Helping with overall health, such as blood pressure and cholesterol
• Allowing for recovery and rest if muscles are sore
• Lessening the risk of injury
• It’s effective for both fat loss and weight loss overall
• Allowing for higher resistances
• It’s great for longer duration exercise
While there’s much debate on which type of intensity works better, it is most often recommended to mix the two varieties. By having some days of high-intensity and some days of low, your body gets the best of both. This also allows for your body to have time to adjust and rest in between high intensity days without taking time off.