Squats and cardio are two of the most popular and effective exercises for improving overall physical fitness and health. Both have their advantages and disadvantages, and the best way to incorporate them into your workout routine depends on your individual goals. Squats target the lower body and help build strength and tone muscles. Cardio, on the other hand, is great for cardiovascular health and burning calories. But what are the pros and cons of each exercise? This article will explore the benefits and drawbacks of squats and cardio, helping you to make an informed decision about which one is right for you.
Are Squats Cardio?
No, squats are not cardio. However, squats are a great way to get in shape and improve your strength. Squats are a compound exercise that works for many muscle groups in your body, including your quads, hamstrings, glutes, and abs. They also increase the range of motion in your hips and help improve your balance and coordination.
Reasons Why Squats Are Not A Form Of Cardio Exercise
1. Squats Do Not Involve Sustained Or Continuous Movement
When people perform squats, they are moving from a standing position to a sitting position. However, this movement does not involve continuous or sustained movement, making it more like strength training than continuous cardio exercise. In addition to the fact that squats do not involve continuous movement, they also do not usually involve sustained movement that would raise your heart rate. Other types of cardio exercise, such as running, involve a sustained movement that helps increase your heart rate. This sustained movement and increased heart rate can help you burn more calories throughout your workout and even after you are done exercising. Squats do not usually involve this sustained movement and do not usually increase your heart rate.
2. Squats Require A High Level Of Muscular Strength And Endurance
While squats can have some cardiovascular benefits, they are not a form of cardio exercise. Squats have a much higher level of muscular strength and endurance than other forms of cardio. The American Council on Exercise (ACE) recommends performing anywhere from two to six sets of 10 to 15 repetitions of squats per week. This can be a lot of work and can be difficult to fit into a cardio workout. Squats also require a high level of core strength so that you can maintain proper form throughout the exercise. If you are looking for a lower-impact cardio exercise, squats might not be the best option.
3. Squats Do Not Increase Your Heart Rate
Unlike other forms of cardiovascular exercise, squats do not increase your heart rate. While squats can have some cardiovascular benefits, they do not increase your heart rate. This can be problematic because, without an increased heart rate, you do not burn as many calories during your workout. The American Council on Exercise (ACE) recommends exercising at an intensity of 50% or more of your maximum heart rate to receive cardio benefits. Because squats do not increase your heart rate, they do not meet this requirement. How much can you burn from squats? In comparison, jogging at a 10-minute-mile pace can burn about 600 calories in 30 minutes.
4. Squats Do Not Burn As Many Calories As Other Cardio Exercises
While squats can have some cardiovascular benefits, they are not a form of cardio exercise. Other types of cardio exercises can burn more calories in a shorter amount of time. When comparing squats with other types of cardio exercises, such as running, it is clear that squats do not burn as many calories as other exercises. Running at a 10-minute-mile pace can burn around 600 calories in half an hour. This is significantly more than what you can burn from doing squats. Squats can burn up to 50 calories in 10 minutes. This is less than half of what you can burn from running. The longer you exercise, the more calories you will burn, but even after 30 minutes of exercise, squats will not burn as many calories as running.
5. Squats Do Not Improve Aerobic Capacity
Like increasing your heart rate, improving your aerobic capacity is one of the major benefits of cardio exercise. However, squats do not increase your aerobic capacity. While aerobic capacity can be improved through various forms of cardio exercise, squats are not one of those exercises. The amount of aerobic capacity you increase is based on two factors: how long your exercise is and how intense your exercise is. Squats do not last long enough or are intense enough to increase your aerobic capacity. The American Council on Exercise recommends exercising at an intensity of 50% or more of your maximum heart rate to receive a cardio benefit.
6. Squats Can Be Dangerous If Done Incorrectly
Squats can be a great exercise, but they can also be dangerous if done incorrectly. If you fail to do squats correctly, you can injure your lower back, knees, and hips. While you can use a bench or chair to help with form, squats can still be dangerous without proper support. The National Institute of Health (NIH) also recommends that you not do squats if you have bad knees, a bad back, or are overweight. If you have any of these conditions, you may want to consider another form of cardio exercise instead of squats. While you can modify squats to be safer, they can still be a dangerous form of cardio exercise if you do not do them correctly.
7. Squats Should Not Be The Only Form Of Cardio Exercise
Cardio exercises like running and cycling are important ways to maintain good health. These exercises can reduce your risk of diseases like heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and certain cancers. Squats are a great exercise, but they should not be the only form of cardio exercise you do. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that you complete 150 minutes of moderate-intensity or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity cardio per week. Squats are a great exercise, but they should not be your only form of cardio exercise.
8. Alternatives To Squats For Cardio Exercise
If you want to complete a cardio exercise but do not want to do squats, there are many other great options. Some examples of alternative cardio exercises include running, cycling, jumping rope, swimming, rowing, and hiking. All of these exercises can provide you with the same benefits squats do but in a different way. For example, running is similar to squats as it also uses your lower body. However, it is a different exercise that can be safer than squats if you have bad knees or back. Other forms of cardio can also burn more calories than squats. Cycling, for example, can burn around 900 calories in 30 minutes. Squats, on the other hand, only burn up to 50 calories in 10 minutes.
Pros Of Squats
- They are a great way to get in shape and improve your strength.
- Squats increase the range of motion in your hips and help improve your balance and coordination.
- They also work many muscle groups in your body, including your quads, hamstrings, glutes, and abs.
- Squats also increase the size of your quadriceps muscles.
- Squats are a great way to burn calories and improve your cardiovascular health.
Cons Of Squats
- They can be strenuous and require a lot of effort.
- They can be difficult to learn how to do correctly.
- They are not for everyone, as they may be too challenging for some people.
- Some people find that squats make them sore the next day.
- Some people find that squats make them bulky or muscular looking.
The Final Words
Squats and cardio are two of the most effective exercises for improving overall health and fitness. While both are great for burning calories, squats are better for building muscle and strength while cardio is better for improving cardiovascular health. When choosing between squats and cardio, you need to take your goals into account and decide which one will help you achieve your desired results.