Why a Moderate Workout Is More Than OK

Interval training can be daunting| since upping your speed means pushing past your comfort zone. While mixing sprints into your runs may torch tons of calories| it can be hard on your joints| requiring a bit more recovery after your sweat session. This is where steady-state cardio comes into play. It’s great for recovery; moving at a manageable pace for a sustained period actually helps repair your workout-weary muscles especially the day after a full-body weight-training session.

Today’s workout in our Better-Body Challenge is 30 minutes of cardio keeping your heart rate in a moderate zone. The good news is that some people even find steady-state cardio meditative. You just find your pace or level of effort| and go!

To determine what moderate intensity means for you| try the talk test. If you’re new to cardio and can recite the Declaration of Independence while exercising| then you’re working at a moderate pace. If you’re fit| moderate intensity will mean you need to struggle a bit at the end of each line. Or you can also use the Rate of Perceived Exertion scale| which places different intensity levels on a scale from one to 10| with one representing no exertion and 10 being an intensity you could not sustain for more than one minute. Moderate level is around a six on the RPE scale.

Here are some ideas for your steady-state cardio workout:

Walk fast and try some hills ?your pace may slow on the incline| but your effort should remain steady.Run at a moderate pace. Dance! Take a Zumba class| try some cardio hip-hop| or experiment with belly dancing.Bike either on mostly flat terrain or a stationary bike at a manageable pace.Test out the elliptical| and work your upper and lower body at the same time. Go both forward and backward.Sit down and work out with a rowing machine.Image Source: Corbis Images