When in a caloric deficit, implementing cardio allows you to get away with a higher number of calorie you can consume per day.
The problem is, cardio is often difficult and takes time to do. Running on a treadmill and doing jumprope doesn’t provide the same stimulation that lifting weights does. Therefore, cardio is often set aside and not done. The truth is, cardio is great for burning fat and when on a cut it is one of the best ways to remain in a caloric deficit without having to constantly ignore your appetite.
In order to get the benefits of cardio without needed to have a training session dedicated to cardio, you can simply incorporate cardio into your already existing routine.
If you live a sedentary lifestyle, these following forms of cardio will be able to burn an extra 400-500 calories per day without much extra time or effort needing to be spent.
The best ways to incorporate cardio into your routine is to walk more, stand instead of sitting when working, take the stairs as much as possible, and do calf raises whenever waiting or in line.
Each of these forms of cardio may seem insignificant on their own but will add up if they’re all done.
First, the best way to incorporate cardio into your routine is by walking more. If you have the option, walk to work instead of commuting. If the store you go to is close, walk there instead of taking a car. If you listen to audiobooks, walk around the house or neighborhood while you listen.
All of these ways will allow you take advantage of higher energy expenditure from walking without manipulating your routine and lifestyle too much.
For a 180 pound male, walking at a moderate pace for 60 minutes a day burns 250-400 calories (use this calculator for a more specific number). This is a substantial amount and by squeezing in extra bits of walking into what you are already doing, you can allow yourself to eat 200-300 calories extra in your diet while still remaining in a caloric deficit.
There are also mood boosting benefits to walking and cardio in general such as the release of endorphins and better blood pressure and heart health.
Standing While Working At a Desk
Another good way to add cardio to your routine is to stand instead of sitting when doing work. If you work at a desk, standing to work is going to burn off extra calories and is better for you posture overall.
The calories burned is slight but if you stand for 8 hours a day instead of sitting, you are most likely going to burn around 100 calories more. Even if you only normally sit for 2-3 hours a day behind a laptop or computer, standing instead will burn 20-50 calories.
This way of doing cardio and adding activity to your routine is going to yield a very slight increase of calories burned but also has benefits for your back and posture overall, making it a worthwhile change if possible.
Taking the Stairs
The next good way to incorporate cardio and activity into your routine is to take the stairs whenever possible.
One thing you can do is every time you use the stairs, use them twice. So when you go down stairs, go back up and down again. If you do this every time it will only cost you an extra 1-2 minutes of time but will increase your activity levels and burn extra calories.
Around 10 calories are burned per flight of stairs so walking up and down the stairs once per day if you double both times will burn 20-40 calories. If you walk up and down the stairs 8 times per day you will burn around 100 calories.
Most stores, apartments, gyms, and houses have stairs in them so taking the stairs and using them twice every time is a convenient and effective way of adding cardio to your routine.
Finally, doing calf raises is another way to add cardio and activity to your daily routine.
The calf muscles are one of the hardest muscles to add size to and are notorious for not responding well to training. Because of this, doing calf raises frequently throughout the day with help build your calves and also burn calories.
Calf raises can be done whenever you are waiting in line or are standing while doing something. Calf raises and standing to do work could be combined to burn more calories from both.
By doing 20 calf raises 2-3 times a day, you will burn 50-100 extra calories. Any time you are waiting for food in the microwave or brushing your teeth, you can do calf raises. Over time this will add to overall energy expenditure and is a very simple way to accomplish that.
Some of the easiest ways to incorporate cardio into your routine is by walking more, standing instead of sitting at a desk, frequently taking the stairs, and doing calf raises.
Walking for 30-60 minutes per day will be able to burn 200-300 calories, standing instead of sitting for 3-4 hours will burn around 50-100 calories, taking the stairs 4-6 times per day will burn 50-100 calories, and doing calf raises whenever standing in line or doing a task will burn 50-100 calories. Adding all these up, by doing all of these you will burn around 450-500 extra calories than you would have otherwise. This is enough of an increase in energy expenditure to make doing these worth it if you are in a caloric deficit and are actively trying to burn fat.