6 Tips for a Cardio Routine You Can Stick To
Whenever the topics of exercise, physical fitness, or weight loss are discussed, the word "cardio" is usually mentioned somewhere in the conversation. For years, this type of workout has been credited with burning fat, boosting metabolism, and improving the health of the heart, lungs, and cardiovascular system.
Cardio is something that can be done with little to no equipment and is easily fit into the busiest schedules. So, if you are not already enjoying all of the benefits from regular cardio activities, the following tips will help you choose the right ones for you.
6 Tips for Establishing Your Routine
The best cardio routine for you will depend on the exercises that best suit your situation. Check with your physician when designing a cardio routine that works best for you, stay active, and have fun!
- Make it Fun. Select the ones that you find exciting and enjoyable.
- Don't Get Ahead of Yourself. Start by doing them for short amounts of time.
- Consider Daily Time Goals. Generally, cardio is performed with a degree of intensity at an average of 30 minutes each day, four to five days a week. These times should be worked up to gradually, and can be split up throughout the day as needed.
- Keep it Flexible. Having two or three short cardio workouts of 10 to 15 minutes each per day is equivalent to one 30 minute session, and might be more convenient for you.
- Listen to Your Body. Just remember to pay attention to how your body responds to the workouts and stop at the slightest sign of pain.
- Don't Forget to Warm Up. Stretching is essential before and after each session to ease the stress placed on your muscles and joints.
5 Low/No Cost Cardio Workouts
Need some cardio inspiration? Here are just five favorite low/no cost options!
- Walking and Running: It might be surprising to some people that walking is considered a valuable form of exercise, especially when done a certain way. Ordinarily, a walk in the park does not seem like it would produce very dramatic fitness results. But try moving your arms briskly to accompany the strides of the walk and pick up the pace to really feel the effect of a brisk walk. The convenient aspect of walking is that you can do it indoors or outdoors, and it can be enjoyed with friends and family members. If you are not feeling motivated to walk around a track or down your street, simply walk in place instead. The same applies to running, which is also performed indoors as well as outdoors. You can use a treadmill to provide added resistance when walking or running indoors. And switching from one to the other makes your cardio more exciting.
- Riding the Bike: Whether it is an actual bicycle or a stationary bicycle, your legs, back, and waist will definitely thank you for spending some quality riding time. Watching television and listening to music are activities that can be enjoyed while riding your stationary bicycle, making it fun and enjoyable. As with the treadmill, an indoor stationary bicycle features levels of resistance to really push your limits and help you gain the maximum results from the exercise.
- Stair Stepping: No equipment needed for this cardio event; just select your favorite set of stairs and begin walking or running up and down. The natural resistance formed by the inclines will work various leg muscles, including the quadriceps, hamstrings, and calves. Even if you do not intentionally use the stairs as a workout, you can still benefit by taking them in place of the elevator. In changing small habits throughout the day, it is possible to achieve your cardio goals without setting aside a significant part of the day for exercising.
- Jumping Jacks: Another great way to burn fat and stay in shape is to return to the exercises of high school gym class. If you remember toe touches and sit ups, you should also be familiar with the fun, but exhilarating jumping jacks. Similar to walking or running in place, and riding a stationary bicycle, jumping jacks are easily done while watching television or enjoying other activities.
- Dancing: Continuing the theme of having fun while exercising, dancing is an excellent form of cardio. Many dance moves are very compatible with exercise movements. You can exaggerate some of the techniques to include stretching in the dance. Blend dancing with aerobics for the ultimate cardio experience that keeps you moving and energized.