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Kettlebell Can you actually JUST use KB’s as a primary cardio?

wespom9

Level 6 Valued Member
Certified Instructor
Walking is healthy yes. But it still not cardio.
I think you're taking too hard of a line on this.

@TedDK "The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) defines aerobic exercise as any activity that uses large muscle groups, can be maintained continuously and is rhythmic in nature"
just because it's light to you doesn't mean it's not beneficial. I think you're being a little pedantic here.

I apologize if I'm coming across as combative, but I've worked in a medical fitness facility for 11 years. People do not need to be told what they are trying very hard to incorporate into their life won't help them. Just cause it's easy to you doesn't mean it's easy for everyone.
 

Adachi

Level 6 Valued Member
I walk all day at work. Sometimes 3-6 miles a day, sometimes more or less. Would you count this as getting some form of cardio? I dont Mean to sound silly but I’m just really curious on what can be sufficient for getting your cardio with bells without having to actually do regular cardio.
I bet if you just put some stank on your pace at work - that'd be all it took - to bump up aerobic capacity.

Story Time
I had a Sergeant who lived on a 40-acre plot in the middle of nowhere.​
he had a bum ankle and we both had to walk for the pt test.​
he was about twice my age, getting ready to retire.​
his pace was over 5 mph. mine wasn't. we were about the same height and build, but he looked like he was walking normally.​
no sweat, not really huffing or puffing.​
I asked him how he did it.​
he told me I just don't take my truck around the property. "when I go to fix a fence line, I just walk, a little faster than I'm used to."​

That said - I am also looking forward to trying a cardio replacement protocol out of the strong endurance manual.
It's on my list, anyways.
 
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Steve Freides

Staff
Elite Certified Instructor
I agree. If the goal is longevity, strength training and walking are great. But you won’t be winning 5 ks with that approach.
And that's a good point with which I agree.

I will offer - no science claimed - that a 40-minute walk at the border of Zones 1 and 2 offers similar benefit to a run at the border of Zones 2 and 3 for half that time. Put another way, cover 3 miles on foot daily and you'll be doing OK, and running it will just take half as much time as walking it to complete.

Ballpark estimates, I realize, and I also realize that the aerobic system will likely be developed better by the 20 minute run than it would be by the 40-minute walk but if we're not talking about, as you say, 5k races but rather general health benefits including support for strength training, my guess is that improvements in aerobic system performance/capacity reach the point of diminishing returns once we've found someone who's walking 3 miles a day on average.

JMO.

-S-
 

Anna C

Level 9 Valued Member
Team Leader Certified Instructor
Elite Certified Instructor
Sinister
the point of diminishing returns
I was 100% with you until I hit that problematic phrase.... ;)

I'm mostly kidding, but as we talked about elsewhere recently, "diminishing returns" doesn't mean that improvements have stopped. Only that the rate of improvements has slowed down. So it's not like there's some magical point at which "you might as well not do any more, because you're hardly benefitting," as I think that phrase seems to imply. I believe there is still a positive dose-dependent relationship between easy cardio volume to health AND performance benefits. The more the better. For some people's goals, those continued benefits may be worth the time and effort of additional exercise volume. For others, not so much.
 

Steve Freides

Staff
Elite Certified Instructor
I was 100% with you until I hit that problematic phrase.... ;)

I'm mostly kidding, but as we talked about elsewhere recently, "diminishing returns" doesn't mean that improvements have stopped. Only that the rate of improvements has slowed down. So it's not like there's some magical point at which "you might as well not do any more, because you're hardly benefitting," as I think that phrase seems to imply. I believe there is still a positive dose-dependent relationship between easy cardio volume to health AND performance benefits. The more the better. For some people's goals, those continued benefits may be worth the time and effort of additional exercise volume. For others, not so much.

Thank you, @Anna C.

My point is that measurably benefiting in one area may not benefit the whole. A positive relationship between easy cardio and what kind of performance? A walk of 45 minutes is refreshing and enjoyable, and I've had days where I've walked 10k or more and still felt fine. I don't have time or interest in strength training more than I do, I literally work three different jobs, and, well, if I may ask a pointed question, what you have got to offer that a better aerobic system would make better for me? I think I have to place myself in your, "others, not so much" category.

-S-
 

Anna C

Level 9 Valued Member
Team Leader Certified Instructor
Elite Certified Instructor
Sinister
My point is that measurably benefiting in one area may not benefit the whole. A positive relationship between easy cardio and what kind of performance? A walk of 45 minutes is refreshing and enjoyable, and I've had days where I've walked 10k or more and still felt fine. I don't have time or interest in strength training more than I do, I literally work three different jobs, and, well, if I may ask a pointed question, what you have got to offer that a better aerobic system would make better for me? I think I have to place myself in your, "others, not so much" category.
Agree, and well said!

Also I grant that you have credibility of experience in this area, having had long phases of life where you did much more "cardio"... So it's not like you don't know what you're missing by not doing more currently.
 

Steve Freides

Staff
Elite Certified Instructor
Agree, and well said!

Also I grant that you have credibility of experience in this area, having had long phases of life where you did much more "cardio"... So it's not like you don't know what you're missing by not doing more currently.

Honestly I feel infinitely better now than I did then. Strength really was the missing thing for me. As I've said here before, one of the things that got me started strength training was my wife telling me that, while I might be in great shape (obviously, aerobically speaking), I was too skinny and I was starting to get a belly. I guess I was becoming the classic "skinny-fat" in my 40's. But it's been almost 28 years since I was 40, and I really do find the RPE of life so much lower now that I'm stronger. I think that may be the best way of explaining the benefits of strength training - everything else in your life will feel relatively easier.

(Yeah, I ran the Philly half-marathon 3 times in the early 1980's, did a solo century on a fixed gear bicycle over rolling terrain, did a randonneur's "Populaire" of 75 miles in hilly country - racing double chainring - and swam a mile or more 2-3 days a week at my local YMCA. In fact, I swam laps at a pool in St. Paul the day before my original RKC cert.)

-S-
 

Adachi

Level 6 Valued Member
I really do find the RPE of life so much lower now that I'm stronger
This is one of the things that primarily motivates me.
This morning I had an experience I periodically have, carrying my now 80 lbs. son downstairs (basically a sandbag getup and carry) in the morning, before 7 am, to get ready for school; he had a hard time waking up.

but, what was different this morning, was that I noticed that it was easier to do today than ever. It was more challenging for me before when he was around 70 lbs. I was less sure of my steps, under load, back then. Once I actually fell while carrying him some time ago. He was unscathed, I caught a bit of a sore spot that resolved with time. but today, I felt like I had no problem. and he's about 10 lbs heavier than last year when I took a bump. the story of Milo came to mind.

So, I look forward to getting a little stronger every year, every season, every cycle. every month. I just keep going.
For me, in my day-to-day life, I have seen the most benefit from strength. by far.
And, I have had many of these moments along the way.
 

Coyote

Level 6 Valued Member
I know the Uphill Athlete guys who are often quoted on this forum, count walking for your job as a stress, but not as training.

I am not so sure, and honestly I do not know the correct answer.

I walk a ton with my job, but it does not seem to help me aerobically. My aerobic conditioning seems to go down fairly quickly when I quit running, or even lower my running below 5 hours a week. No amount of walking, snatches etc... , that I am able to do, is as effective as any type of running. From zone 1, to fartlek or interval work, the deciding factor seems to be volume.

Now, I am a middle aged, non-competitive guy, who enjoys long bi-pedal movement. Through hikes, back pack hunting and ultra length events are my bag.

With that said, some of the very best fell runners on the British Isles, and ultra runners around the world do lots and lots of walking, but closer to 20+ miles per day, and lots of vert included.

I think there is little doubt that walking is better for you then sitting. Beyond that, I can not say!
 

TedDK

Level 5 Valued Member
@TedDK "The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) defines aerobic exercise as any activity that uses large muscle groups, can be maintained continuously and is rhythmic in nature"
just because it's light to you doesn't mean it's not beneficial. I think you're being a little pedantic here.

I apologize if I'm coming across as combative, but I've worked in a medical fitness facility for 11 years. People do not need to be told what they are trying very hard to incorporate into their life won't help them. Just cause it's easy to you doesn't mean it's easy for everyone.
I dont say it wont help. Walking is great for health benefits. I wouldnt call it cardio.
 

Coyote

Level 6 Valued Member
This was the only definition of "cardio" I could find, beyond "cardiovascular exercise". I found this on Masterclass:

"What does cardio mean?


Cardio is shorthand for cardiovascular training, and it encompasses any exercise—such as running, cycling, or dancing—that elevates your heart rate. Cardio is also considered aerobic exercise, meaning it demands elevated oxygen flow, which causes you to breathe harder."

So I guess if an activity raises your heartrate it is effectively "cardio".

I am a runner, so I am pre-prejudiced. I strongly believe that almost everyone would benefit from some level of trotting. If your body can not do that, then biking or swimming or rowing , ort 'sumptin.

There is a reason fighters and soldiers around the world do some level of running.
 

Phindborg

Level 2 Valued Member
I dont say it wont help. Walking is great for health benefits. I wouldnt call it cardio.
It all depends on your starting point. If you weigh a ton and is badly out of shape then a 5 km walk can easily get you well into Zone 2. If you got a low BMI, a high VO2 max and is physically active then no - walking wont improve your cardio (defined by your
anaerobic and aerobic energy systems).
 

wespom9

Level 6 Valued Member
Certified Instructor
I will offer - no science claimed - that a 40-minute walk at the border of Zones 1 and 2 offers similar benefit to a run at the border of Zones 2 and 3 for half that time. Put another way, cover 3 miles on foot daily and you'll be doing OK, and running it will just take half as much time as walking it to complete.

-S-
Steve, what you're describing is built into physical health guidelines. 150 minutes of moderate but 75 of 'vigorous' are fairly equivalent.
It comes down to MET/min or MET/hr, which is how physical activity is studied in research. Also note that even 'vi

10 minutes at 3 mets = 30 met/min (note this is about 3 miles/hr or 20 min mile pace)
5 minutes at 6 mets = 30 met/min (note this is about 4.5 miles/hr or ~13 min mile, fairly brisk walk or slow jog)

Note that moderate is 3-5.9 METs and vigorous is 6+ METS by ACSM definition.
And from a health perspective these are equivalent. Of course, nobody in society knows what a MET/min is so that's why the 150 mins is thrown around.
https://www.acsm.org/docs/default-s...15a400e9b3be594a6cd7fbf.pdf?sfvrsn=aaa6d2b2_0

I dont say it wont help. Walking is great for health benefits. I wouldnt call it cardio.
Again... you are saying the opposite of what every major health organization defines as cardiovascular activity.
 

TedDK

Level 5 Valued Member
Steve, what you're describing is built into physical health guidelines. 150 minutes of moderate but 75 of 'vigorous' are fairly equivalent.
It comes down to MET/min or MET/hr, which is how physical activity is studied in research. Also note that even 'vi

10 minutes at 3 mets = 30 met/min (note this is about 3 miles/hr or 20 min mile pace)
5 minutes at 6 mets = 30 met/min (note this is about 4.5 miles/hr or ~13 min mile, fairly brisk walk or slow jog)

Note that moderate is 3-5.9 METs and vigorous is 6+ METS by ACSM definition.
And from a health perspective these are equivalent. Of course, nobody in society knows what a MET/min is so that's why the 150 mins is thrown around.
https://www.acsm.org/docs/default-s...15a400e9b3be594a6cd7fbf.pdf?sfvrsn=aaa6d2b2_0


Again... you are saying the opposite of what every major health organization defines as cardiovascular activity.
I dont know in US. But in DK where im from walking isnt cardio if you ask the doctor. Unless you are in real bad shape, heavyweight...
 

Coyote

Level 6 Valued Member
I will offer a theory: relaxed walking for pleasure is good for you but walking with the pressure of your job on your mind isn’t the same.

-S-
I don't think so, but maybe.

I think it would be difficult to duplicate the aerobic stimulus with walking that I get from even a relatively short zone 2 trot. Which in all honesty includes some walking for me.

Now, if we are talking stimulus other then aerobic. ... I can just walk a loooong time at a pretty good clip, even with a decent weight( unless you add vert) without raising my heart rate. So I think walking alone is a poor aerobic exercise, but so are a lot of things.

It doesn't mean you shouldn't walk.
 

Steve Freides

Staff
Elite Certified Instructor
Steve, what you're describing is built into physical health guidelines. 150 minutes of moderate but 75 of 'vigorous' are fairly equivalent.
It comes down to MET/min or MET/hr, which is how physical activity is studied in research. Also note that even 'vi

10 minutes at 3 mets = 30 met/min (note this is about 3 miles/hr or 20 min mile pace)
5 minutes at 6 mets = 30 met/min (note this is about 4.5 miles/hr or ~13 min mile, fairly brisk walk or slow jog)
Good to know - thanks!

-S-
 

Steve Freides

Staff
Elite Certified Instructor
I think it would be difficult to duplicate the aerobic stimulus with walking that I get from even a relatively short zone 2 trot.
No one is suggesting that you should try to "duplicate" here. What @wespom9 is saying that at least some people in the scientific/medical/expert community are OK with my assessment, namely that the stimulus is less but doing it for longer might yield benefit worth taking note of. I think this is one of those "your feelings don't matter" kind of things - it certainly doesn't feel the same to walk as to run.

If we'll all forgive yet another personal observation, allow me to put kettlebell swings into the mix and tell you what's happened with my own walking over a period of years. I began by walking very little, and gradually over time got up to the point where I was comfortable walking a mile or mile-and-a-half most days, and my heart rate was, on average, at or near the top of Zone 1. And I wasn't swinging a kettlebell regularly, but once I put a few months of kettlebell swings in there, it turbo-charged my walking somehow - don't ask me how - and I noticed my walking pace and distance moved for the first time in a long time. My walking is still relaxed, but my heart rate is higher by about 10-15 bpm, now into Zone 2 rather than at or near the top of Zone 1, and I am able to walk further without feeling overly tired by the experience. Swings are again not in my program now, but they were a great change of pace and plateau-buster for me.

-S-
 
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