When reading about exercising and other fat burning workouts, one may have come across a term called steady-state cardio. Another reference to this type of activity is duration or “slow” cardio. It means that one maintains a fixed pace and effort level for a period. There may be variations to speed, incline or pedal resistance, but the for the most part, it will be unchanged and uniform.
In any exercise program, cardio should always be included. Not everyone is ready or suited for interval training. It all depends on one’s fitness level, age, experience and goals. For beginners, steady-state cardio is a good alternative.
Some advantages to steady-state cardio are the length of time the body is in the fat-burning zone. This usually occurs around 65 percent of one’s max heart rate. Another benefit is that it “teaches” the body to use fat as a fuel source. In fact, a recent study published by Applied Physiology, Nutrition and Metabolism stated that state-state cardio defends against insulin resistance by increasing insulin sensitivity. If one enjoys doing something aerobic, then this option may be of interest.
It is not recommended to do this type of workout for 90 minutes or more. It increases cortisol levels. This means it can work against you. The higher levels of cortisol make it more difficult to lose body fat and increase belly fat. In addition, high levels can lower the immune system, which can lead to more colds.
There are many options when it comes to steady-state cardio and not all of it has to be on a treadmill or elliptical. Here are few examples:
30 to 40 minute walk in the park
20 minutes of swimming laps
60 minutes of biking
In the gym
Walking/jogging on the treadmill
When it comes to interval and steady-state cardio, many industry professionals recommend both. If one has the time and motivation, include interval training (no more than three times in a week) along with two sessions of steady-state cardio and the benefits will reap.