Is It Good to Do Cardio After a Workout?

We all know that cardio is important for our health, but is it really necessary to do it immediately after a workout?

Benefits of Cardio After a Workout

Cardio after a workout is a great way to help your body recover and burn more calories. Doing cardio after a workout can also help improve your endurance and strengthen your heart and lungs. Additionally, it can help improve your overall performance and reduce fatigue. Let’s look at some more benefits of doing cardio after a workout.

Improved recovery

Some research has suggested that performing cardiovascular exercise after weight-training can help with muscle recovery. For example, cardiovascular exercise metabolizes lactic acid and other metabolic byproducts from anaerobic training, enabling the body to clear them faster. Additionally, post-workout cardio boosts circulation and helps bring nutrient-rich blood to damaged muscles for faster healing.

Therefore, adding cardio after a workout can be beneficial for athletes who are looking to expedite the recovery process and reduce soreness that usually follows intense weight-training. Furthermore, by completing both in one session, you also save time and get an efficient total body workout. Cardio after a workout should be low intensity and relatively short as a longer duration or high intensity could leave your muscles fatigued when it’s time to lift again or otherwise impact your next training session in some way.

Improved cardiovascular health

One of the biggest benefits of cardio after a workout is improved cardiovascular health. Doing cardio exercise can help to keep your heart and lungs healthy, as well as reduce your risk of developing diseases associated with high-intensity physical activity. After any kind of physical activity, your body needs to be refueled and that is where the benefit of doing a light-intensity aerobic exercise such as jogging, swimming or using an elliptical machine comes in. Your body will need energy to help it cope with the strain put on it from intense activities and cardio after a workout will give your muscles a chance to recover faster.

In addition to improved cardiovascular health, doing some form of aerobic exercise after a workout boosts your metabolism which aids in burning fat quicker. Aerobic exercise helps you burn calories at a faster rate allowing you to get more out of each workout session. Increased stamina and endurance are also common benefits that come with engaging in short bursts of intense aerobic activity following strength training exercises or other workouts. This helps you go harder for longer during the next session so that you can maximize gains.

Improved fat loss

Doing cardio after your workout can help you maximize the time you dedicate to exercising and help you reach your weight loss goals. Cardio helps improve the rate at which fat is burned off during a workout by increasing blood flow and providing energy to muscles. The increased blood circulation helps to move the fatty acids through the bloodstream and into cells that need them as fuel. Additionally, it reduces muscle stiffness and soreness afterwards. Performing short, high intensity sessions of cardio after a workout can be especially effective in improving fat loss even further, as opposed to doing less intense aerobic activity over a longer period of time.

Types of Cardio

Cardio is an important part of a complete fitness routine as it helps to improve cardiovascular health and burn calories. There are several different types of cardio that you can do, such as running, cycling, and swimming. Each type of cardio has its own benefits, so it’s important to understand the differences between them. In this article, we’ll explore the different types of cardio and how they can help you reach your fitness goals.

Low-Intensity Steady State (LISS)

Low-Intensity Steady State (LISS) cardio is a form of cardiovascular exercise that involves maintaining a steady, low-level intensity. As the name suggests, the intensity of the activity stays consistent throughout, usually at a lower level than other forms of cardio. This form of exercise is often used by gym-goers as a way to maintain an overall level of fitness and as part of a warm-up before lifting weights. It also provides great fat burning benefits and can help improve your cardiovascular health without putting too much strain on your body. For example, walking, biking or swimming at a gentle pace can be classed as LISS workouts. By working out in this specific way, you can create an aerobic environment in the body while still burning calories and fat. It has been proven to be one of the best ways to burn fat quickly while still improving overall fitness levels.

High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)

High-intensity interval training (HIIT) is a type of cardio exercise that involves a series of short, intense exercises interspersed with rest or active recovery periods. HIIT is used to build muscle and burn fat while increasing athletic performance. HIIT trainings consist of quick bursts of energy and shorter periods of rest.

High-intensity interval training has been studied extensively in recent years, showing impressive results in terms of health and fitness improvement. HIIT sessions can last from 10 to 30 minutes and involve exercises performed at 80-90% effort. During these intervals, your heart rate should be elevated for extended periods, along with short breaks for recovery if needed. This type of workout increases the excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC), which helps you burn extra calories even after the workout has ended.

Common types of HIIT exercises include sprints, burpees, jump squats, mountain climbers, plyometrics (jump training), kettlebell swings and battle ropes. Depending on your fitness level and goals, you may choose to do one set at a time or several sets broken up into segments that you complete within a given timeframe.
One great thing about high-intensity interval training is that it can be adapted to almost any fitness level and goal—it’s just a matter of adjusting either the intensity level or the duration of each exercise session accordingly. Therefore, regardless of whether you are an avid gym goer or a beginner looking to improve your overall health and wellbeing, this type of cardio offers numerous benefits that make it worth giving a try!

High-Intensity Continuous Training (HICT)

High-Intensity Continuous Training (HICT) is a cardio exercise that consists of sustained, intense activity done for an extended period of time. It is generally divided into two types — aerobic, which uses oxygen to fuel the muscles, and anaerobic, which relies on stored carbohydrates for energy. HICT has been shown to be an effective way to improve vascular health and promote fat burning due to its short bursts of intense effort followed by brief periods of rest or low intensity exercise.

During a HICT workout, you would perform twenty 30-second sprints with 10 seconds rest in between each set. You can focus on any type of cardio during this interval such as running, biking or swimming but it needs to be done at 100% effort level in order to achieve the best results and adaptation from this type of training. Benefits associated with HIIT include increased heart rate and respiration rate, improved insulin sensitivity and enhanced mitochondrial biogenesis which leads to improved aerobic fitness. This type of cardio should not exceed 30 minutes due to its taxing effect on the body’s resources however for those looking for quick weight loss results it can be beneficial when incorporated into a regular exercise regime.

Guidelines for Doing Cardio After a Workout

Doing cardio after a workout can be beneficial in many ways. It can help you burn more calories, improve your overall endurance and cardiovascular health, and even help speed up the recovery process. But there are guidelines to follow in order to reap the most benefit from cardio after a workout. Let’s take a look at what these guidelines are.

Warm up before doing cardio

Before doing any cardiovascular activity, it is important to warm up your body with light physical activity to get the blood flowing and the muscles moving. This can help reduce injuries, improve your performance, and make you feel much more comfortable while exercising. Start off with a slow jog or brisk walk for 5 to 10 minutes. Once you’ve broken a light sweat, gradually increase the intensity of your warm-up on a treadmill or stationary bike until you reach 40-50% of your maximum heart rate. This will ensure that your muscles are ready for high-intensity cardio workouts.

Choose the right type of cardio

When deciding what type of cardio to do after a workout, it is important to consider the goal of the workout and how intense it will be. If you are only performing a light activity such as jogging or an easy bike ride, then low intensity activities such as walking or light jogging would be suitable for post-workout cardio. However, if you have pushed yourself in a high intensity workout then longer duration moderate-intensity activities such as walking the stairs or biking would be better for your post-workout recovery period. Additionally, if you tend to enjoy high intensity activities like circuit training, HIIT workouts and running or biking faster speeds then avoiding short interval of high-intensity cardio may be best for recovery.

It is important to keep in mind that your body needs time for muscular repair and recovery between workouts so it is best to vary your post-workout cardio activities with each session in order to optimize both physical performance and muscle repair which encourages the body’s adaptation process during your workout programme. Additionally, because post-workout muscle soreness can vary from person to person depending on their lifestyle habits, weight training experience and intensity of their workout session; doing too much cardio after an intense session could lead to excessive physical strain on the muscles causing delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS).

Monitor your intensity level

When doing a cardio workout after a strength training session, it’s important to pay attention to your body and monitor the intensity of your cardio exercise. While you don’t need to be as aggressive with your cardio workout as you would had you done it before strength training, it’s also important that you do something that challenges your cardiovascular system. Therefore, while taking into account how tired your body is from the activity beforehand and gauging how much more intense than normal cardio would be, focus on exercises that make it easy for you to monitor progress and adjust intensity.

Some good options include walking or running on an incline treadmill at light incline angle of 1-3 degrees and moderate speed; riding a stationary bike at light resistance; performing walking lunges with medium weight dumbbells; or doing jumping jacks with moderate speed and height. These allow for increments in intensity without fatiguing the body too fast or putting excessive strain on the joints. For safety reasons, keep in mind that this type of exercise is best done outdoors or in a well ventilated space since it involves repetitive movement for extended periods of time.

Pay attention to your body’s signals

It is important to pay attention to your body’s signals when deciding how much cardio to do after a workout. If your muscles are still feeling sore, fatigued or tight, it may be best to give them some additional time to recover before engaging in cardio. If you still want a heart-pumping workout, try doing dynamic stretching or foam rolling instead. It is also important to take some time for yourself before and after a workout by practicing deep breathing and savasana—the yoga pose of restful awareness. This can lower levels of stress hormones, decrease cortisol levels and help regulate other bodily functions related to exercise recovery.

If you decide that it is finally time for some cardio action, try going for a low-impact activity such as walking, jogging or swimming. High-intensity interval training (HIIT) can be a great way to maximize your results in minimal time but should only be done if you have already given your body ample rest from lifting exercises. Lastly, it is important not to overdo anything and know the importance of necessary rest days so that you don’t push yourself too hard—it could lead to long term damage!

Potential Risks of Doing Cardio After a Workout

Doing cardio after a workout can be beneficial for a variety of reasons, but it’s important to be aware of the potential risks associated with this practice. Doing too much cardio after a workout can put extra strain on your body, resulting in fatigue and soreness. Additionally, it can also lead to overtraining if you’re not careful. Let’s dive deeper into the potential risks of doing cardio after a workout.


Doing cardio after a workout and pushing yourself too hard for too long is known as over-training. While it can help to increase aerobic capacity and endurance, over-training can be detrimental to your physical and mental health, with symptoms such as excessive fatigue and adverse changes in hormone balance. Doing cardio following a workout should focus on short bursts of exercises rather than long, continuous aerobic workouts. When incorporating cardio into your post-workout routine, there are a few measures you can take to ensure that you don’t overdo it —

– Start slow with light intervals of jogging or walking. Focus on increasing the intensity slowly over time rather than trying to go all out right away.

– Planning shorter workouts will help prevent you from going into an overexertion state where the body begins to break down muscle tissue instead of using fat for fuel.

– Make sure to warm up and cool down properly before beginning your workout — often the hardest part of any exercise program is ensuring that muscles are properly stretched before pushing them too far. Stretching can also reduce risk of injury by reducing lactic acid buildup in the muscles.

– Pay attention to signs of exhaustion — fatigue, dizziness, nausea or muscle soreness could be signs that you’re pushing yourself too hard. Listen to your body’s signals; if something doesn’t feel right, take a break or quit for the day and resume at another time when you’re feeling better rested and energized.


Doing too much cardio after a workout may put you at risk of injury. Your body needs time to recover after intense exercise, and overworking yourself can lead to fatigue, muscle soreness, and joint pain. Before engaging in any rigorous physical activity it is important to correspondingly warm up and stretch your muscles in order to minimize the risk of any potential strain on ligaments or injuries in tissue.

Proper hydration is also an essential component for injury prevention. Dehydration can cause decrease your range of motion which can lead to pulled or torn muscles which can make recovery time much longer than expected. It is important to make sure you have replenished the fluids lost from your workout before attempting post-workout activities.

It’s also important that post-workout cardio intensity not exceed the level that was used during the actual workout session, as this could result in straining your muscles beyond their intended capability. While a proper cool down is helpful for both decreasing muscle soreness and speeding recovery times, gradual decreases in exertion levels are key so that overexertion does not occur and subsequent injury is avoided.


Doing cardio after a workout can be beneficial, but there are some potential risks associated with this type of exercise. The most significant risk is dehydration, particularly if you are engaging in cardio for an extended period of time. Our body needs to cool itself down when exercising and dehydration can detract from its ability to do so.

Dehydration occurs when your body does not have enough water and other fluids to continue functioning properly. It is important to ensure your body is well hydrated before engaging in any post-workout cardio and should drink enough fluids during the activity. Symptoms of dehydration include extreme thirst, dry mouth, dizziness, lightheadedness, fatigue and irritability. Seek medical help immediately if you experience any of these symptoms while doing a post-workout cardio session and make sure to replenish lost fluids afterwards. Additionally, you should monitor your body’s response during exercise – if you begin to feel lightheaded or fatigued over time stop your routine immediately and rehydrate appropriately.

Low energy levels

Doing cardio after a workout can possibly lead to low energy levels. Because doing cardio increases the stress hormones in your body which can interfere with optimal recovery and make muscles tired, this in turn will reduce how much energy your body has available to you everyday. Furthermore, when exercise is done after a session of resistance exercise it can further increase the physical fatigue making it difficult for a person to remain energetic both during and after their workout. Despite the possible low energy levels caused by doing cardio after a workout, this type of activity still offers many benefits such as improved heart health, increased calorie burn and mental stamina. Therefore it is recommended that if you are interested in engaging in cardio exercises after strength training, you should consult with a certified personal trainer or doctor first to determine if this activity is right for you.

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