How Long Should I Do Cardio For?Posted on Jan 25th 2011 2:00PM by Harley Pasternak
I advise my clients to exercise 25 minutes a day, five days a week, and within those 25 minutes, you'll be covering both your cardio and strength-training exercises. In total, I suggest at least 10 minutes of cardio and 15 minutes of resistance training a day. The 10 minutes of cardio should be divided into a five-minute cardio warm-up and a five-minute cardio cooldown.
The cardio warm-up is important because it lubricates your joints and brings blood to your muscles. In terms of what cardio exercise you should begin with, well, that's up to you. If you have a gym membership, you can use a stationary bike, treadmill, rowing machine, whatever you enjoy using. If you're exercising from home, you can do your own cardio routine to get your heart pumping. Exercises such as jumping jacks and running on the spot are good warm-up exercises. Or if you want to enjoy the great outdoors, warm up with a quick jog around the neighborhood before you move on to the next phase of your workout, 15 minutes of resistance training.
Once you've completed the resistance-training portion of your workout, you're ready to take yourself home with a five-minute cardio cooldown. Again, the choice of cardio is up to you -- whatever gets you going. Just remember, you need to finish with five strong minutes to end that day's workout.
While my 5-Factor program requires you do only 10 total minutes of cardio, some of my clients want to take their workout up a notch. For them, I suggest a 15-minute cardio warm-up and a 15-minute cardio cooldown with resistance training in between. I don't suggest, however, going more than 30 minutes a day. You should commit to exercising a minimum of five days a week, so you don't want to overdo it on day one and be out of commission for the remainder of the week.
And remember, your cardio doesn't end when you hop off the treadmill or bike, your resistance training continues to get your heart pumping, because you're exercising with no break in between. So if you're doing 10 total minutes of cardio to warm up and cool down and 15 minutes of strength training, you're actually in the cardio fat-burning zone for 25 to 30 minutes. If you're doing 30 minutes of cardio to warm up and cool down, you'll be in the cardio fat-burning zone for 45 to 50 minutes.
Harley Pasternak is a renowned fitness and nutrition expert and an acclaimed celebrity trainer. He holds a master of science in exercise physiology and nutritional sciences from the University of Toronto and an honors degree in kinesiology from the University of Western Ontario. He is also certified by The American College of Sports Medicine and The Canadian Society of Exercise Physiology.
Pasternak's first book, "5-Factor Fitness," was a No. 1 top seller in its category at Barnes & Noble and Amazon.com, and his second book, "5-Factor Diet," hit the New York Times Best Sellers list. On the heels of this success, Pasternak released "The 5-Factor World Diet" in January 2010, which outlines the essence of the world's healthiest cultures and reveals their regimens for living healthy lives.