I’m addicted to cardio. I love the euphoria and sense of accomplishment that I feel from a vigorous cardio session. If I thought it was beneficial, I would do cardio workouts EVERY SINGLE DAY.
Lately, everything you read regarding getting fit and losing weight focuses on the importance of strength training to reach your goals. I agree with this wholeheartedly, but I also think adding in 20-30 minutes of cardio before a strength training session is a good way to mix it up.
Cardio is a great workout because:
- It burns calories, lots of calories if it’s intense.
- It’s good for your cardiovascular system. A vigorous cardio session strengthens your heart and lungs and improves your ability to use oxygen.
- It can boost your mood and relieve stress.
- It can improve the quality of your sleep, as well as helping you to fall asleep.
- Steady State Cardio (moderate sustained effort) can help build up stamina for more intense workouts while not over taxing your body.
3-4 days a week for a 30 minute duration is a good goal for the cardio portion of your fitness plan. Add in some strength training and HIIT sessions, and you have an awesome well-rounded weekly exercise plan. I realize not everyone has this much time for working out, any exercise you can squeeze into your day or week is beneficial. Below are some ideas for a solid cardio workout.
This is a great total body cardio exercise. I would do this often if it wasn’t so BORING. Unless you find your own thoughts fascinating or you have an expensive waterproof headset to listen to music underwater, you’re pretty much out of options. For me that is too much alone time with myself.
I love to run and always feel amazing afterwards. Running is great for a big calorie burn. The downside to running is it can be hard on your body. I can only run once or twice a week for 2-3 miles at a time or my knees start to bother me. If it doesn’t bother you, run, run, run like the wind…
Before I tried it, I thought spin class meant you literally would spin around in circles for exercise. Apparently that’s not what it is. It’s indoor cycling and it’s a great form of cardio. It’s low impact, can be very challenging if you push yourself and it’s fun! Spinning can also be a good form of HIIT as you have periods of intense work followed by short rest.
Stairs are by far my favorite cardio workout. The reason for that may be that the stairs I have access to look like this year round:
Who wouldn’t want to exercise here everyday? If you aren’t lucky enough to have these stairs nearby, there are some other options. Stadium stairs at a school or sports complex are great. You can use virtually any set of stairs as long as they aren’t too crowded. You don’t want to be knocking people over as they climb the stairs to their office.
For stairs think outside the box. You can walk, run, hop, skip, side hop, crawl, lunge, burpee, jump etc.. There are endless possibilities for mixing it up. Check out this video from Ashley Horner for some great ideas.
If you are not quite up for any of the above options, a vigorous walk is a great way to get your heart rate up. It will also help you work up to something more challenging.
Have fun with it! Happy sweating!
Have other ideas for a great cardio workout? Scroll to bottom of page and let us know!
Featured photo by Becca Matimba