Cardio can certainly help to burn some additional calories. And when you expend more calories than you consume, weight loss occurs. Your goals, your time, and your recovery are things to consider with the notion of daily cardio. So here’s a short list of pros and cons for different types of cardio to help you decide.
“HIIT”, High Intensity Interval Training
- (pro) Requires minimal time (<20 mins)
- (pro) Builds cardiovascular endurance.
- (con) Requires a lot of effort.
- (con) Requires more recovery.
“LISS”, Low Intensity Steady State
- (pro) Requires minimal effort.
- (pro) Requires minimal recovery.
- (con) Requires a lot of time (>30 mins)
- (con) Limited cardiovascular benefits.
- (pro) Can help with specific athletic goals.
- (con) Takes cons from HIIT and LISS.
Your capacity to speak is an easy reference point for which type of cardio you are doing if you aren’t sure for some reason. For HIIT (or high intensity cardio in general) you shouldn’t be able to speak more than a singular quick word here and there. For moderate intensity, it’s somewhere between broken sentences and complete sentences with difficulty. For LISS, it’s complete sentences with minimal difficulty.
You’ll notice that I didn’t mention calories in any of the types of cardio, that’s because given enough time they are all equal. You don’t want your activities to exceed your body’s capacity to recover, nor do you (typically) want to spend all of your free time exercising. So again, your goals, time, and recovery capacity should guide your decision. It should also be noted here that cardio isn’t strictly necessary for weight loss, eating slightly less can have the same effect as cardio on your calorie balance over the course of a day.
The answer to “Should You” is simply “It Depends”, but it’s also not necessary in the first place. Having a warmup before your workout is useful, but that warmup doesn’t need to be cardio (ideally your warmup should hit the muscles that will be worked however). Strength Training is arguably better for fat loss than cardio anyway, but that shouldn’t discount the value of cardio. Just experiment and see what works best for you and your goals, good luck!