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A commitment to cardio can help you change your physique.
David De Lossy/Photodisc/Getty Images
Fifty minutes of cardiovascular exercise, five days a week, might seem like a significant time commitment, but it's impossible to understate the importance of exercise on your health. If you're eager to lose weight, frequent cardio sessions can help you transform your body. The exact amount of weight you can expect to lose, however, is difficult to predict as it's based on several factors.
Cardio Helps Shed the Pounds
Your total of 250 minutes spent performing cardiovascular exercise should be more than enough to help you lose weight, provided you complement this commitment to exercise with a reduction in your intake of calories. The amount of weight you lose depends not only on the exercises you choose and the intensity at which you perform them, but also your caloric consumption and factors such as your metabolism. In general, though, expect to lose one to two pounds per week through the implementation of a healthy, exercise-filled lifestyle.
Form of Cardio Dictates Workout Length
Adults should make regular cardio exercise a priority, but the exact guideline concerning the amount of exercise depends on the activity you perform. Because high-intensity cardio burns calories quicker than moderate-intensity cardio, moderate-intensity sessions must be longer. Examples of low-intensity exercise include walking and hiking and bicycling, inline skating or swimming at a moderate pace. High-intensity exercises include running at 6 mph and high-impact step aerobics and riding a stationary bike or swimming at an accelerated tempo. In 50 minutes of performing these four exercises, for example, a 200-pound person burns 760, 800, 860 or 740 calories, respectively. Your 250-minute cardio workout is higher than the 150 minutes recommended for high-intensity exercise, but slightly less than the 300 minutes recommended for moderate-intensity exercise.
Minor Weight Loss Has Major Benefits
Healthy weight loss is a steady journey, rather than one that happens overnight. If you can lose weight at the rate of one to two pounds per week, it's reasonable to expect to lose four to eight pounds in one month. The ability to lose just a few pounds, however, can have a dramatic effect on your overall health. Losing between 5 and 10 percent of your total body weight can significantly reduce your likelihood of developing weight-related medical conditions, while also providing relief to your lower-body joints and increasing your energy level. Weight loss can improve your self-esteem and, if you take medication for diabetes, might enable you to take a lower dose.
Find Different Ways to Sweat
Unless your schedule is wide open, you might initially find it a challenge to reserve 50 minutes for cardio exercise, five days a week. Keep in mind that you don't have to exercise in a 50-minute block, nor do you have to perform the same activity for your entire workout. One approach for people short on time is to break down the 50 minutes into a series of 10- or 15-minute workouts. Meeting your quota could be as simple as a 10-minute jog before work, a pair of five-minute walks during the workday and 30 minutes of riding a stationary bike or dancing while watching TV in the evening.