How Much Cardio Do I Really Need?

cardio

If you typically do cardio for exercise, do you know how much you really need? Cardio is a catch-all category that includes everything from walking at a brisk pace to dancing. Even tasks such as mowing the lawn with a push mower can be considered cardio since they do work the same muscles and systems that exercises do. How much cardio do you really need every day, though? Unfortunately, many people don’t know the answer to that question.

Planning Your Cardio

You don’t need to put in hours at the gym or hit the pavement every day to get the cardio you need. Experts say that most adults only need to spend about two and a half hours every week doing moderately intense cardio. That can be jogging, cycling, or any other activity that pushing your heart rate up to at least 60 percent of the maximum safe amount.

You do need to do a little math to figure out what that percentage is. While you can go to a physiology lab to get a specific number, you don’t have to do that. Instead, first, take your age and subtract it from the maximum of 220. Next, figure 60 percent of that number. For example, someone who is 30 would take 220 minus 30 (190) and then multiply by .60 to get 114. For a 40-year-old, the math would be 220 – 40 = 180, then 180 x .60 for a needed heart rate of 108. Smartwatches and many other wearable tech devices will monitor your heart rate, so you can see if you’re meeting the requirements.

Want to cut down your exercise time? If you do vigorous activity, you only need about 75 minutes of cardio a week. These activities are defined by anything that puts your heart rate over 80% of max. So a 30-year-old would need a heart rate of 152 beats per minute, while a 40-year-old would need to hit 144 bpm. There’s no need to do either type of activity all at once, either. You can do moderate exercises five days a week for 30 minutes at a time if you want, or you can do a few longer sessions. It’s all up to you.

Cardio has many benefits, including benefits to your oral health. Want to know more? Give us a call or ask about it at your next scheduled exam.