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  1. #1
    Registered User BaalMoloch's Avatar
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    How much cardio is too much?

    Hi!

    I am 53. My entire life I've been the square, strong shape rather than the slim, endurance type. Cardio has been something I've suffered through.

    At last I've found a workaround, that means I enjoy cardio. I look forwards to cardio in the gym and incorporate it more. But... so far in my life the upper limits of how much cardio your body should have, that has been as relevant to me as the wind conditions on Mars. But yesterday I totaled up my calories, exercise time etc for last week. And I had 1 hour of cardio five days last week, about half of each hour with my heart above 140, often over 150 BPM.

    After a lifetime of watching everyone else outdo me on the cardio, there may have been some excessive enthusiasm here.

    I've not had any ill effects so far, but at my age it pays off to be careful with these things.so my question is

    How much is too much at my age?
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  2. #2
    Moderator SuffolkPunch's Avatar
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    Cardio won't necessarily change your shape - if you out-eat the extra calories burned. From what you describe, it sounds like you just need to diet.

    If you want to improve your CV conditioning, you need to experiment with how much you can add to your schedule. Nobody can tell you in advance how much is too much because it depends on your recovery abilities. This is something that varies a lot from one person to another - and it can also change over time too.

    I wouldn't jump straight to 5 days a week unless you are only doing a light maintenance resistance training schedule at the moment. Make incremental changes - then you can better judge the effect on recovery.
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  3. #3
    Registered User BaalMoloch's Avatar
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    Thank you. I am not looking to lose any large amounts of fat, I am enjoying being able to improve my cardiovascular fitness to a level I never have before. It has taken me some time to get up to 5 x60 minutes per week, but I am worried about hitting my ceiling and injuring myself. Especially since injury here may easily involve the heart. At my age the ceiling is being lowered too.
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  4. #4
    In Witness Protection mtpockets's Avatar
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    The amount of Cardio you get or want depends on the individual, it varies. I do a lot of Cardio and am a Cardio lover, but I don't do the Hamster thing in the gym running on treadmills or ellipticals and such. For some that works, I can't do that, it's boring AF and no fun at all for me. All my cardio involves the outdoors and fun stuff. I Hike or Cycle pretty much everywhere, Cross country ski, snowshoe and fish, yup fishing can get you cardio when you hike, snowshoe, cycle or backpack into the country to do it. These are just a few activities I have used over the years to improve and maintain my Cardio level, I have found that when Cardio is part of your hobbies, it's no longer work and a hell of a lot of fun. A healthy heart is a happy heart.
    Good luck on finding your Cardio Balance. SuffolkPunch gave some great advice, I am sure others will chime in as well.
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    World's most boring answer...

    Too much, is when doing that amount has become counterproductive to achieving your goals.
    Not enough is when doing more would benefit achieving your goals

    If you can quantify and prioritise your goals better - and how you are responding to what you are doing now (don't forget enjoyment is a valid goal too), then maybe someone can give you a more helpful and more interesting answer than mine.
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    Originally Posted by mtpockets View Post
    I don't do the Hamster thing in the gym running on treadmills or ellipticals and such. For some that works, I can't do that, it's boring AF and no fun at all for me.
    Reminds me of this...

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    Originally Posted by BaalMoloch View Post
    . . . but I am worried about hitting my ceiling and injuring myself.
    Do you always use the same mode of cardio? If so, vary it (treadmill, bike, rower, etc) to minimize your chance of a repeated use injury. And some modes are just less likely for error: the stationary bike for instance has no impact and you can't fall off or get hit by a car ;-)
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  8. #8
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    Careful at your age, why? Are you concerned about muscle injuries, a heart attack, or fatigue from too much sudden exercise?

    I used to do 1- 1.5 per day at the gym going row by row using each machine.
    20 min bike, 20 stairmaster, 20 treadmill, 20 elliptical, 20 treadmill again.

    The intensity on each machine is what separates the men from the boys.
    I could do a level 10 workout or I could coast at a level 7 depending on my energy and diet that day.
    There is an unspoken thing, we are iron brothers and sisters, we are to support each other and...It is our duty to support our brothers and sisters in the iron game!
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  9. #9
    This too shall pass dazlittle's Avatar
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    For the last year or so I have been running 3 times a week (around 20-25 miles per week) along with 3 weights workouts a week and my body has been able to recover OK. The only issue I foud was when to schedule my leg workout around my running.

    I do cardio for the health benefits but also so I can EAT!! my daily maintenance is around 3,300 calories.

    Now they gyms are open again in the UK, I'm reducing my running and increasing my weights workouts for a while.

    Everyone is different so my advice would be to try it for a few weeks and adjust accordingly.
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  10. #10
    Registered User Darkius's Avatar
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    Too much cardio is when it makes you sore or feel drained. Also, even without that, you need to eat even more to help those muscles recover, which can detract from your other recovery.

    But if done the right amount of time, it can stimulate slow twitch muscle fibers and boost testosterone a bit more. Overdo it, and you will torch your fast twitch fibers and tank your testosterone. Cardio is like lifting, in that you need to ease into it and build up and not do it while sore, unless your goal is to lose fast twitch muscle so you can run a marathon.



    One question you should ask is whether you should even do cardio. If you have plenty of slow twitch fibers, then taking the time to exercise them is worth it. Most people have 50-50 in their legs. If you are a genetic abnormality with huge muscles and almost all fast twitch fibers, it might not be worth your time to work the slow twitch ones or risk burning the fast twitch ones. Also, lifting heavy will get your heart rate up. Shorten your breaks and it definitely will.
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  11. #11
    Registered User Darkius's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by x-trainer ben View Post
    Careful at your age, why? Are you concerned about muscle injuries, a heart attack, or fatigue from too much sudden exercise?

    I used to do 1- 1.5 per day at the gym going row by row using each machine.
    20 min bike, 20 stairmaster, 20 treadmill, 20 elliptical, 20 treadmill again.

    The intensity on each machine is what separates the men from the boys.
    I could do a level 10 workout or I could coast at a level 7 depending on my energy and diet that day.
    Similar here. Bike 15 minutes till my butt hurts, treadmill 25 minutes till my ankles hurt, then row 10 minutes, then treadmill again and then bike. If I notice my muscles getting sore, I can split my workout into 2 sessions 5 hours apart.
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  12. #12
    Registered User Darkius's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by mtpockets View Post
    The amount of Cardio you get or want depends on the individual, it varies. I do a lot of Cardio and am a Cardio lover, but I don't do the Hamster thing in the gym running on treadmills or ellipticals and such. For some that works, I can't do that, it's boring AF and no fun at all for me. All my cardio involves the outdoors and fun stuff. I Hike or Cycle pretty much everywhere, Cross country ski, snowshoe and fish, yup fishing can get you cardio when you hike, snowshoe, cycle or backpack into the country to do it. These are just a few activities I have used over the years to improve and maintain my Cardio level, I have found that when Cardio is part of your hobbies, it's no longer work and a hell of a lot of fun. A healthy heart is a happy heart.
    Good luck on finding your Cardio Balance. SuffolkPunch gave some great advice, I am sure others will chime in as well.
    My friend is the same way: hates gyms, loves hiking and rock climbing.
    I don't like UV light aging my skin, or breathing car exhaust, or getting hit by cars, or fixing goat head punctures. I also don't like hiking up hills because I know the way back down will be hard on my joints. And I don't like long hikes anymore because every mile out must be hiked back which could be more than optimal. And I no longer rock climb because I don't know when an intermitant atrial fibrilation episode could strike and make me lose 75% of my strength, which would be deadly on a climb. I also don't swim in deep water for that same reason. I love the gym. It is my place of meditation. I go in the mornings when no one else is there.
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    Originally Posted by SuffolkPunch View Post
    Cardio won't necessarily change your shape - if you out-eat the extra calories burned. From what you describe, it sounds like you just need to diet.

    If you want to improve your CV conditioning, you need to experiment with how much you can add to your schedule. Nobody can tell you in advance how much is too much because it depends on your recovery abilities. This is something that varies a lot from one person to another - and it can also change over time too.

    I wouldn't jump straight to 5 days a week unless you are only doing a light maintenance resistance training schedule at the moment. Make incremental changes - then you can better judge the effect on recovery.
    Very true, though I find cardio to be a strong antidepresant that makes it easier for me to not keep looking in the fridge. I now only eat when I decide it would be a good time to eat, when I'm actually hungry.
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    I used to have a job where I could do my cardio at lunch. I’d swim laps, or elliptical for 30 minutes every day, shower and head back to the office. My weight workouts were done immediately after work and I’d go to the boxing club Tuesday and Thursday in the evening.

    Then Covid hit so I wasn’t able to do that anymore.

    I bought a desk elliptical (Cubii)…I know, it sounds ridiculous but you do what you have to do.

    Now I’m teleworking from home and I elliptical three miles every day on it while working (21 miles a week) and get my weights done at lunch. I have a complete home gym and also have all the boxing equipment you could want so I even get my rounds in.

    The only thing missing is sparring in the ring but life is change.

    Anyway, I don’t think you’re doing too much cardio. Your body will let you know when you are by feeling fatigued all the time. “Weak as dishwater”.
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    Bodybuilding forum so most people are only concerned with fitness or aesthetics but the answer to living a long injury free life is doing minimal amount necessary to achieve minimum level of fitness needed for your health. Probably could cut your cardio in half easily if you look at the studies, there really isn't any added benefits after 1.5-2.5 hours a week (depending what study you look at) 5 hours definitely will not give you better health outcomes, possibility worse health outcomes. Unless it's 5 hours at 110 HR
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    OP last commented on this thread 04-26-2021. Think the thread's gone stale?
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    Originally Posted by OldFartTom View Post
    OP last commented on this thread 04-26-2021. Think the thread's gone stale?
    Shoot, I've only been around 6 months, but I'm already 'jaded'
    When I see that post of 'how do I get going' from a person with under 50 posts, I just respond with the link to intro threads and then sit back and watch to see if they stick around.
    Some of ya'll are better than that and give real advice!
    It's never too late!

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    Only you can say how much is too much for you and your level of fitness. My mom's BF is still running marathons in his mid 60s, and often places top 5 in seniors class. His son is a marathon runner competing in the next Olympics.

    I'm in my late 30s, and have also neglected doing cardio most of my life. I did a lot in high school, and then never again until recently. I'm a huge fan of Airdynes for cardio, and just doing give or take 10min a day for the past few months has gave me tangible benefits. See the attached screenshot, that tracks my max, and resting HR. I only started doing +/- 10 min of HIIT on Airdyne, around the end of Feb.
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