What is steady state cardio?

Steady-state cardiovascular exercise, often referred to as traditional aerobic exercise, involves maintaining a constant, continuous level of moderate intensity during your workout. This means keeping your heart rate within a specific range for an extended period of time, typically ranging from 30 minutes to an hour or more, depending on individual fitness levels and goals. Its main target is the cardiovascular system, improving cardiac and pulmonary resistance.
Walking, running, easy walking, and cycling are all part of steady-state cardiovascular exercise.

How does this help

Steady-state cardiovascular exercise relies primarily on aerobic energy production, where the body uses oxygen to produce energy for the muscles to sustain activity. The intensity is moderate enough to allow the heart and lungs to deliver enough oxygen to the muscles without causing an oxygen deficit. This form of exercise strengthens the heart muscle, increasing its ability to pump blood efficiently and improving circulation. Over time, it reduces resting heart rate and blood pressure, reducing the risk of heart disease.


Endurance and weight management using constant cardio

Steady-state cardio gradually improves stamina and endurance, allowing individuals to engage in activities for longer periods without excessive fatigue. Increases the body’s ability to use oxygen efficiently, improving overall physical performance. Regular steady-state cardio helps burn calories and fat, aiding in weight management and promoting healthy body composition. It is an effective component of a weight loss regime when combined with a balanced diet.

Benefits of Steady-State Cardiovascular Exercise

Steady-state cardio primarily uses fat as a fuel source during a workout, making it an effective choice for anyone looking to reduce body fat. Additionally, regular cardiovascular exercise has been linked to reduced stress, anxiety, and depression. Stimulates the release of endorphins, promoting a positive mood and mental well-being.
Steady-state cardiovascular exercises are generally easy to perform, requiring minimal equipment. Activities such as running, walking or cycling can be performed outdoors or indoors on machines, making them accessible to most people.

HIIT vs. constant cardio

High-Intensity Interval Training is another popular form of cardiovascular exercise characterized by short periods of intense activity followed by low-intensity recovery periods. As a difference, steady-state cardio involves moderate intensity sustained over an extended period, while HIIT alternates between high-intensity bursts and low-intensity recovery. HIIT sessions are shorter but more intense.
HIIT can lead to greater calorie burn in less time due to the intense bursts, and can induce the “afterburn” effect, where the body continues to burn calories post-workout. Steady-state cardio, on the other hand, burns calories during the exercise itself.

Steady cardio for the body

Doing steady-state aerobic exercise is particularly beneficial for muscle tone and endurance, especially in the lower body. Activities like running or cycling engage the leg muscles and promote strength and tone over time. Regular participation in steady-state cardiovascular exercise is also said to reduce the risk of several chronic diseases, including type 2 diabetes, stroke and certain types of cancer, by improving overall cardiovascular health.
But also remember not to overly stress your body. It is advisable not to do steady-state cardiovascular exercises every day as they do not promote adequate rest. Take 2-3 days off when incorporating it into your workout regimen.

Precautions to take

Just like any other workout regimen, constant cardio can also cause problems if not done carefully. For starters, pre-workout warm-up and post-workout cool-down are equally necessary. This not only prepares the body for a training session, but also helps with recovery afterwards. It’s also important not to rush into steady-state training. Gradually increase the duration, intensity and frequency of your sessions to challenge your body and continually improve your fitness levels. Also remember to stay hydrated before, during and after your workout and ensure you eat a balanced diet to support your energy levels and recovery.