In regards to cardiovascular exercise and what is best, it all depends on your preferences. All cardio has great health benefits. It can also have a positive effect on muscle growth. If your cardiovascular health is increased, it gives the ability of the heart, blood cells and lungs to supply more oxygen/nutritious rich blood to the working muscles. Therefore your muscles can use the oxygen and nutrients to produce more energy for movement and recovery.
HIIT (HIGH INTENSITY INTERVAL TRAINING)
HIIT is a great way to burn fat in a short time, improve endurance and cardiovascular health.
It is an idea in which low to moderate intensity intervals are alternated with high intensity intervals.
HIIT can be applied to cardio exercises like running or bike, to resistance exercises such as squatting. HIIT is considered to be more effective than normal cardio because the intensity is higher and you are able to increase both your aerobic and anaerobic endurance while burning more fat per time.
Before any cardio workout, especially HIIT, make sure you perform a 5-10 minute warm up. This will ensure your heart rate slowly and steadily rises to get you ready for the task ahead along with warming up the muscles to prevent an injury or strain.
To perform HIIT on the bike for example, you would increase the level/resistance and go all out speed for 30 seconds, RPE 10. Followed by lowering the level and slowing the pace right down for 1 minute to bring your heart rate down to around 55% max and at an RPE scale of around 3. You would repeat this for 15 minutes and you're done.
RPE SCALE (Rate of perceived exertion)
The RPE scale is used to measure the intensity of your exercise. The table to the side shows how each number corresponds to the intensity of a workout. 1 being very light, up to 10 being maximum effort.
So HIIT training is a great way to burn calories quick if you're pressed for time. I am talking for the general population that just want to perform cardio for heath benefits and burn calories. If you are training for a specific sport, you would incorporate specificity training. For example, if you're a 100m sprinter, your training would consist of explosive bursts and sprints. If you're a marathon runner, your training would consist of long distance runs. Speaks for itself really not rocket science LOL. Which leads me to the next style of cardiovascular training....
LISS. (LOW INTENSITY STEADY STATE)
This style of cardio is a lot less intense, as its name suggests, it is any form of low intensity cardio where you maintain the a similar pace for a set period of time.
To reap any health benefits from this style of cardio i suggest you perform at least 30-45 minutes each session. This can be performed on a bike, treadmill, cross-trainer, stepper etc. You'll be wanting to work at a pace that is around 4-5 on the new RPE scale or 55-65% of your max heart rate. A rough guide to find out your max heart rate is to subtract your age from 220. So if you are 30 years of age, your MHH (maximum heart rate) would be roughly 190. Therefor 55-65% of that will be 105 - 125 BPM (beats per minute)
Try out both cardio types, you may prefer one to the other, do what you prefer. Training is not just about putting yourself through a workout, you need to enjoy what you do to ensure adherence. One of the main reasons for people giving up at the gym is due to the fact they just do not enjoy it. Therefore it is vital you choose an exercise that suits you.
So which cardio is best? YOU decide :)