The dark side of cardio

Does cardio have a dark side? But everyone says that cardio is the best method of exercise for weight loss. So what’s the deal?

I recently received a letter from a woman who discovered that there is a darker, hidden side to good cardio.



I saw the orthopedist today and he noticed several things that could be causing my hip pain (which has improved with light exercise). It seems that one of my legs is longer than the other. And when I increased my cardio times (to try to get more results), the difference started to ‘come out’ and resulted in my hip pain…


She learned her lesson the hard way.

When someone with a minor injury or biomechanical defect, doing the same activity over and over again (like the thousands of reps you’ll do in a cardio workout), will hurt you every time.

Why are you runners always in the physio office? Or why do people always get hurt when they go from being sedentary to trying to do cardio 3 times a week?

Do you think I’m full of it? Well, I’m not the only one with this opinion. We only need to turn to the words of Alwyn Cosgrove for an even better explanation…

CB: Alwyn, where do you start working with an overweight person?


With a full lifestyle and structural evaluation. Typically, the overweight person has so little structural integrity that my first approach is a resistance training program to address their weaknesses and imbalances. By manipulating rest periods, I can always get a cardio workout without the overuse injuries that often occur in the untrained.

Research (Jones et al., Sports Med. 18(3): 202-214, 1994) has shown that the intensity required by the average sedentary person trying to improve their cardiovascular system will likely create excessive structural overload; in fact, in this study there was a 50-90% injury rate in the first six weeks of training.

Interestingly, the typical program for an overweight person is usually thousands of reps (ie aerobics) which will cause more problems.

A superior system would be to focus on the muscular system and control the length of sets and rest periods to create the same metabolic and cardiovascular demand.


Yes, cardio is like a good water torture…because the pressure, when applied over time, will always bring you down. Even this woman’s doctor said intervals were best for her conditioning.

So, prime your muscles with strength training (bodyweight exercises performed on the floor) and low-volume interval training (performed at a slightly stronger-than-normal cardio pace), rather than jumping into a routine. of intense aerobics to lose fat. If you have good nutrition, you will lose as much or more fat with this approach than hours of cardio. Nutrition is more important for beginners than exercise.

Train smart and safe!

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