For years, health and fitness enthusiasts have known how absolutely essential it is to include cardio as a part of any well-rounded and effective fitness regime. Regular cardio exercise strengthens your heart and increases your lung capacity. It decreases your chances of developing life-threatening conditions like diabetes and heart disease, as well as complications that arise as a result of high blood pressure or high cholesterol.
As if that’s not enough, cardio also helps you burn calories and get rid of that unsightly extra body fat you can’t stand. However, as is the case with many things, you have your choices when it comes to your cardio routine, and two very popular choices are HITT cardio and low impact cardio, but which one is the right choice for you?
HITT stands for “high intensity interval training” and it works exactly the way it sounds like it does. It involves working out at very high intensity levels in intervals ranging from light to moderate, as opposed to continuously the way you do with traditional cardio routines. HITT first came about as a way to combat an irksome problem when it comes to calorie burning and fat loss. When you work out too regularly at the same intensity, your body actually begins to get used to things, and once this happens, you don’t burn as many calories as you otherwise might. HITT helps mix things up so that you get the most out of your workout every single time. The downside to HITT is that the level of intensity makes it something that is not necessarily a suitable choice for those with heart issues or other cardiovascular concerns.
On the other end of the spectrum, you have low impact cardio. Low impact cardio is a good choice for those who are new to exercising, people who are pregnant or excessively overweight, or those who simply dislike more strenuous high impact exercise and find they can’t stick with it. It is also ideal for people who have chronic issues that affect the joints, bones, or connective tissue, (such as arthritis or osteoporosis) because it does not involve all the jarring and jostling that traditional cardio exercises like jogging or running do. Like other forms of cardio, low impact cardio also is key when it comes to helping you lose weight, burn off extra calories, and get in better shape.
So which one is the better choice? It honestly depends on what your needs, preferences, and limitations are. If you’re looking to lose the maximum amount of fat possible through your cardio routine, and don’t have any physical limitations that would make you a better candidate for low impact, then HITT would be best as it optimizes fat loss and has a greater level of post workout calorie burn. However, if your joints or bones are a concern, or you’re a beginner, then it would be preferable to begin with low impact cardio and go from there. You can also combine and alternate the two to really maximize your routine.