Cardio Workouts: Fitness We Love to Hate
Among the complaints heard from people who don’t like to do cardio work is that they find it boring. They can’t handle the idea of jogging for long periods at a time or doing the equivalent on the treadmill, elliptical machine, or exercise bike.
To that end, cardio workouts are widely misunderstood. There are enough options available both at home and in the gym to keep things from being boring, and when done with a purpose, the benefits of cardiovascular exercise can be achieved in as little as 20 minutes.
Just as one can be creative with his or her strength-training program to keep things fresh and provide variety, the same holds true for cardio training. The benefits of cardio training are many. It promotes heart health, controls cholesterol and lowers blood pressure. Cardio work also helps burn fat, boosts the metabolism, and makes it easier to control one’s weight. People who regularly do cardio work are also said to have less stress and anxiety and are less likely to have sleep-related issues.
Cardio workouts improve aerobic fitness, which is the ability to transport and use oxygen while training. Over time, the body adapts to the demands placed up on it, which leads to the ability to take on a heavy workload.
As with any type of workout, beginners will want to take things at a slow place as they get used to be the movements and build up their endurance. One’s fitness level should be considered when doing any type of cardio workout. A simple formula can be used to identify one’s maximum heart rate (MHR). Subtracting one’s age from 220 equals one’s MHR.
For beginners, a low-intensity workout would equate to working at 40-50 percent of one’s maximum heart rate. A moderate workout would come in at 50-70 percent of the maximum and high-intensity workouts reach 70-85 percent of the max.
It is generally recommended that cardio workouts last between 25 and 45 minutes and need to take place only two to three times per week to benefit. Those who adapt a two-to-three day a week aerobic workout routine generally strive to work at 55-85 percent capacity.
Popular Cardio Workouts in the Gym
Belonging to a full-service gym provides numerous options for creating an effective cardio workout. Treadmills, ellipticals, stationary bikes, and rowing machines are the type of equipment that can be used exclusively or in some combination to strengthen the heart and burn fat.
Most people have a favorite machine for cardio work, but mixing it up helps keep things fresh while also varying the muscle groups that are worked.
For those looking to lose weight, there’s no question that cardio workouts play can play an important role in achieving fat loss. Combined with a healthy diet, cardio training can deliver results that are both immediate and long-lasting.
Interval training, or HIIT, which consist of periods of high intensity exercising followed by brief recovery, is an excellent option. The demands on the body during the intense sessions leads to it asking for more oxygen during recovery, which helps maximize fat and calorie burning.
Tabata training is a popular form of interval training. It involves going all out in an exercise for 20 seconds, such as cycling, followed by 10 seconds of rest. The sequence can be repeated for three to four minutes.
Doing the same with three other forms of cardio for a tough and rewarding workout.
As the workouts become more intense, it is important to make sure you are burning fat and not muscle.
Cardio Options Outside the Gym
Excellent cardio workouts are attainable without the aid of expensive or elaborate equipment. Jumping rope is an old standby and remains an excellent cardio exercise, with the potential to burn up to 1,000 calories in an hour. An excellent jump rope program begins with jumping rope for 30 seconds, followed by a minute of rest. Repeat for a total of six sets. The goal is to be able to add 10 seconds to each set every week.
Ultimately, getting to the point where each set contains three minutes of jumping rope and 30 seconds of rest will signal a high level of cardio fitness.
Calisthenics, or exercise movements without the use of equipment, have come a long way, too, from the basic trio of jumping jacks, sit-ups and burpees (although they remain excellent elements of a cardio workout.) The power skip (raising the knees high), running in place with high knees and plank jacks are three good examples of cardio exercises that can be done in the tightest of spaces and without any equipment.
As one gains experience and adds strength and balance, the movements can become more complex. The possibilities are endless. That’s hardly boring.
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