Is Cardio the Only Thing You Need to Be Healthy?

Is Cardio the Only Thing You Need to Be Healthy?


Making a lifestyle change, but don’t know where to start? Here’s what a trainer thinks about cardio, fitness misconceptions, and how to start small

It can be easier to transition from a sedentary lifestyle to an active one with proper guidance. Having a fitness trainer, for example, can make it so that you have a personalized exercise program to follow. While it doesn’t completely replace one-on-one coaching, we asked trainer Patricia Gatus to weigh in on some of our burning questions about fitness to help you along your journey.

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So, what would you actually need to be fit and healthy? While some would suggest that cardiovascular exercise be the only thing you keep up with, Patricia says that it’s just one of the many things that you need. Alongside cardio, you should be paying attention to strength training, mobility, flexibility, and nutrition most of all.

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While this list of priorities could seem intimidating, Patricia advises beginners to start small. To get out of your sedentary lifestyle, you can begin by just doing as much movement as you can. She says, “Walk around the house or outdoors, do more household chores, stand every 30 minutes, take the stairs. Any sort of movement that you can, do it and do it more frequently and consistently.” Even gardening can be great for your health, according to studies.

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Importance of cardio

Clearing the air

But as you’re starting your fitness journey, remember to be informed about the decisions you’re making with your body. Patricia highlights two common misconceptions people have about exercise, the first of which is that lifting weights will make your body look bulky. 

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According to the trainer, lifting weights or building muscle mass will not automatically make you bulky—not unless you eat and train to make your body so. She adds, “For the general population, a well-structured strength program with proper nutrition will provide a lot of health benefits, as well as the aesthetics or physique that many people actually aim for.”

Is cardio all you need to be healthy

The second misconception that Patricia pointed out was that you can target weight loss on specific body parts. So, against popular belief, you cannot target weight loss on specific parts of your body, such as your arms or your thighs. But if losing overall weight is your goal, she says that you would need to be in a total calorie deficit. And aside from that calorie deficit, she says that building more muscle mass can also help.

But how that weight loss looks on you can be different from what you initially imagined. According to Patricia, that’s because where people store fat in their bodies can be dependent on their gender or genes. This biological aspect is why we say that being healthy looks different on everybody, so don’t beat yourself up if you don’t get the results you want right away. It is called a fitness and wellness journey after all!

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