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As a woman, how much intense cardio exercise should I do?

Intense cardio will put you in Zone Three for 30 to 60 seconds at a time.  For most people, exercising in Zone Three once a week is enough. Research has shown that whether you perform interval training once a week or three times a week, both frequencies have the “same” cardiovascular benefits.

If your goal is weight loss, you would most assuredly burn more calories by training in Zone Three more frequently. The problem is, this may be more strenuous on you and can lead to overtraining and weight loss requires a long-term solution, which is impossible for you to accomplish when you have to take time off. Overtraining can also lead to burnout which can cause you to stop working out completely.
 
Personal trainer and competitive figure athlete Kelly Decolati emphasizes intense cardio for women clients at least three days a week, ideally five. What is intense? "For a woman age 35 to 45 in moderate to good health, your heart rate should be a minimum of 140, 170 max," she explains.

Like many trainers, she advises high-intensity interval training.

"I personally key in on intervals of very intense, 30-second-minimum sprints or bouts, with equal or less time for recovery. This allows your heart rate to drop down to a comfortable level." Decolati suggests 45 to 90 minutes of cardio. "The more intense the cardio, the less amount of time you need to expend the same amount of calories."

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.