Fasted cardio means engaging in cardio activity while being in a fasted state. Usually this means exercising immediately upon waking. Since your body is is fasted after several hours of sleep, that will mean that your glycogen levels are very low. So, your body is forced to tap into its fat stores for fuel.
Is this an effective training protocol?
The short answer is, yes. However, the consensus is that you should aim for about 20 to 30 minutes of cardio and it shouldn’t be high-intensity. You want steady state cardio such as brisk walking at a pace where you’re still able to hold a conversation while walking. If you’re gasping and breathless, you’re going too fast.
Which brings us back to the question: “Will seniors benefit from it?”
There so many answers to this question. For starters, it depends if the person is overweight. If you are an able-bodied senior who is overweight, fasted cardio is your best option for shedding the excess pounds fast. Of course, you’ll need to tailor your diet too.
Since most seniors can’t handle high-intensity interval training, fasted cardio is one of the best ways to speed up fat loss. All they need to do is either walk, swim, cycle or do an activity that raises their heart rate to a level that they can maintain for about 20 to 30 minutes.
Over a month or two, they’ll see a drop in their body fat percentage and they’ll look and feel better. Steady state cardio is beneficial if you know how to employ it.
That said, some seniors may have diabetes or other health issues that may make fasted cardio a no-no. If you have diabetes and are prone to low blood sugar levels, fasted cardio is not an option for you.
Take note: You must speak to your doctor before engaging in any exercise program. There may be risks that you may not even be aware of.
Another point to note is that some seniors may have insomnia and other sleep problems. They may sleep late and wake up in the afternoon. By this time, the sun outside may be too hot for them to handle.
At times like these, it’s best to have a treadmill or a stationary bike in the house and use that instead. Fasted cardio works even if you train indoors.
It would be a good idea to track your progress. First, you’ll need to decide on the duration. Starting off with 20 minutes is a good idea. Whether you are walking, cycling or swimming, take note of the distance covered.
As each day passes, check if your distance is increasing, while your duration stays the same. Once you notice that your distance covered is no longer increasing, then you’re training at your maximum potential based on the time you’re working out.
Now you can increase the duration to 30 minutes or even 40 minutes. Always aim to improve gradually and not overwork yourself.
Be mindful of how you feel while engaging in fasted cardio. While many seniors will feel great, there may be some that don’t feel so good. Pace yourself accordingly and monitor how you feel.
Fasted cardio is an effective tool for weight loss, but it’s not the only one.
If you dislike it and it doesn’t feel good, you can always exercise later in the day when you’ve got some food in you. Listen to your body, always.