Is Chronic Cardio Hurting You?

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Your intentions may be in the right place but you may be doing more harm than you think when you get on that treadmill for your consistent chronic cardio workout.

There is mounting evidence that chronic cardio can lead to health problems and is an inefficient way to lose weight.

Our body’s genetics have been shaped by our lifestyle over the past 40,000 years.

Our hunter-gatherer ancestors didn’t spend an hour a day on a treadmill maintaining a significantly high heart rate. A typical day would be to spend hours walking at a slow pace using fat as the primary energy source (as well as sprinting occasionally and lifting heavy things). As such, our current physiology is set up to handle those type of demands.

When you elevate your heart rate for extended time periods on a frequent basis, with little regard for recovery, you start to depend on stored glycogen as an energy source instead of fat. As a result, your body requires excessive amounts of carbohydrates (sugar) to refuel that lost energy. And instead of burning fat you end up burning carbs.

Not only is chronic cardio a poor fat loss tool, but strong evidence shows it may also lead to cardiac arrhythmias, atherosclerosis, oxidative stress, inflammation, osteoarthritis, hip and knee replacements, and heart disease!

I am not suggesting that we do not have the capacity to run long distances or that we should avoid it like the plague. I do however want people to be aware of the potential negative effects and limit the amount of unhealthy chronic cardio as a first choice for fat loss and overall health.

For more information on how to work out more efficiently and how to move your body in a way that allows your genes to express health and wellness, check out our Move By Design manual.

Low to moderate endurance efforts have their place in a balanced training program but just remember… “You’re human, not hamster.”!

References: Here, Here, and Here

Dr. Aaron Cain

Dr. Aaron Cain has spent his life researching everything there is to know about health and maximum human performance. While earning his Doctorate of Chiropractic he also earned a Masters Degree in Sports Chiropractic, and the Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist certification offered by the National Strength and Conditioning Association.

As the CEO of Fish Creek Chiropractic, a family chiropractic office, Dr. Cain has created a program that has helped thousands in the Calgary community to optimize their brain-body connection, eat better, move more and create a healthier state of mind. He maintains a busy family chiropractic practice, and finds time to implement the principles and practices of Life By Design in his own life.

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