Andrew Huberman - What is Zone 2 Cardio - Ascendment

Andrew Huberman - What is Zone 2 Cardio?

Zone 2 cardio is a relatively new term that has entered the mainstream health and fitness realm – but what does it mean? Neuroscientist Andrew Huberman is an advocate for this form of low intensity cardio, and we’ll look at exactly what it is and how you can perform it in this article.  

What is Zone 2 Cardio?

Zone 2 cardio is when you move your body for a sustained period of time and your heart rate remains at a consistent rate of around 60-70% of your maximum heart rate during that time. It consists of essentially any form of low-intensity movement that elevates your heart rate slightly for prolonged periods. Walking at a brisk pace is a perfect example of Zone 2 cardio.

The beauty of Zone 2 cardio is that it can be incorporated into your daily tasks. For example, rather than driving to the store we can choose to walk instead. When we have a work call, rather than sitting down we can take a walk down the street. Instead of getting something delivered for lunch, take a walk to the nearest (healthy!) food stand. Cut the grass, mop the floors, clean the windows, run around with the kids. It’s really easy to implement more Zone 2 cardio into your normal day.

When discussing Zone 2 cardio neuroscientist Andrew Huberman said: “The best way to get Zone 2 cardio is to simply increase the amount of walking, and in particular, walking at a rapid pace, and to increase the total amount of movement that one's getting throughout the week.”

While Zone 2 cardio can be increased by moving your body more when performing daily tasks, we can also perform actual cardio exercise such as walking on a treadmill or using an exercise bike. The key is to maintain the same pace throughout to ensure your heart rate stays at a steady pace.

Why Do Zone 2 Cardio?

Andrew Huberman is an advocate for Zone 2 cardio due to its health benefits. He says: “The scientific data tell us that we should all be getting anywhere from 150 minutes to 200 minutes per week minimum of Zone 2 cardio for the sake of cardiovascular health, cerebrovascular health, and a number of other aspects of health that are important for health span and lifespan.”

By improving our cardiovascular health, it also improves other aspects of our fitness such as strength training, speed work or hypertrophy training, as it gives us more aerobic capacity to push our sets further and harder.

How Andrew Huberman Does Zone 2 Cardio

Andrew Huberman makes a conscious effort to walk and move his body more while working through the week. He says: “If you simply make the effort to move around a lot more during your daily activities and to mesh that Zone 2 cardio with your daily activities, you're going to hit that threshold of 200 minutes per week minimum.”

The neuroscientist dedicates time on Sundays to make sure he’s hitting his Zone 2 cardio targets. He says: “I have one day a week, a Sunday, where I go out for a jog that lasts anywhere from 60 minutes to 90 minutes. It's a slow jog, where I can maintain nasal breathing the entire time or have a conversation with somebody else.”

He prefers to do his low intensity cardio outside saying: “Sometimes it consists of a hike by myself or with other people, and those hikes extend anywhere from an hour to four hours. I try and do that once a week. I do Zone 2 cardio sessions outdoors because I like being in nature and getting sunlight and fresh air.”

How you perform Zone 2 cardio depends on your preference. Some people prefer to do it outside, but having a treadmill or exercise bike in your house means your able to perform this form of low intensity exercise any time you want. It also means that weather conditions won’t stop you from doing your cardio. Andrew Huberman says: “Many people schedule Zone 2 cardio into their weekly fitness regimen.”

If using an exercise bike or treadmill go at a steady pace where you can hold a conversation. Perform work calls or brainstorming at the same time so it becomes part of your daily activities.


Zone 2 cardio is moving your body for sustained periods at a low intensity level. You can incorporate this type of cardio into your daily life simply by being proactive and making slight adjustments to your routine that involve moving your body more.

As well as moving your body more during daily activities you can also dedicate 2-3 sessions a week to Zone 2 exercise. Brisk walking outside or on a treadmill at a consistent pace is a great example. Exercise bikes are also a convenient way to perform Zone 2, or you may prefer to go swimming or go on a hike.

This form of cardio is highly beneficial for cardiovascular health and cerebrovascular health. Research suggests that we should aim for 200 minutes per week. Andrew Huberman says: “The message is very simple, get 200 minutes or more of zone two cardio per week, and the message is also a very reassuring one, which is that, that Zone 2 cardio can be spread throughout your daily activities. And that if you're doing enough of it, you probably don't even have to count the total amount of Zone 2 cardio that you're getting."

The beauty of Zone 2 cardio is that we don’t have to overthink it or worry about it too much. Huberman says: “If one looks at Zone 2 cardio just as part of their daily life, you're far more likely to get that Zone 2 cardio in and all the benefits that come with it.”

Read more: Andrew Huberman - The Power of the Anterior Mid-Cingulate Cortex

Read more: Andrew Huberman - 8 Reasons You Should Buy an Ice Bath Tub

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