Cardio is something that everyone can do at virtually any time they choose. No matter what your fitness goals are, cardio is an absolutely essential component for living a happy a healthy lifestyle.
When many people think about engaging in cardio activities, running on a treadmill is often the first thing that comes to mind. This image can hurt cardio’s reputation because there are so many more cardio activities than simply running on a treadmill for hours on end, and cardio can actually be done in small spaces when those spaces are utilized effectively.
The key here is understanding that cardio can be done in so many more ways than just running outside or on a treadmill. Even if you have limited time, you can get a great cardio exercise in even if you have a limited amount of time and space. The large array of exercises covered in this post will help you find an exercise that will be the most fun for you to engage in.
Because cardio can be such a grind, it is important that you can find a type of cardio you genuinely enjoy, or at a bare minimum, tolerate for a couple weeks until you gain familiarity with it and then it becomes enjoyable. It is also important to keep in mind that there is going to be whats called a familiarity period in which your mind and body will reject the act of doing cardio if you're not one hundred percent in love with it. During this period, the act of doing cardio will be very hard at first, but then day by day will get just a little bit easier.
These exercises will raise your heart rate, boost your metabolism, and improve your cardio endurance all at the same time. Doing these exercises regularly and eating whole foods will help you maintain a weightloss routine that you can stick to without burning yourself out. One thing you will notice when doing these routines continuously is that they will get progressively easier over time. When you first begin, you may find it difficult to do shorter 1 minute cardio exercises. But with sustained effort and consistency, you'll soon fin that 1 minutes of working out will become easy and will force you to lengthen your workouts in order to grow.
1) Butt Kick
The butt kick is one of the simple exercises that will strengthen your glutes and hamstrings while also giving you a great cardio workout as well. To do this exercise, simply stand and begin running in place while bringing your heals as far back towards your glutes as possible. You should feel this exercise most in your hamstrings if you are doing it correctly.
Burpess are an intense full body workout that were created to get your body into shape quickly. Along with raising your heart rate and being a fantastic cardio exercise that you can do at home, burpees will also strengthen your arms, core, chest and legs as well. To do a burpee, start by jumping into the air with your hands above your head. Once you land, immediately place yourself on the ground in a pushup position. Once there, do a pushup and then bring your legs up to your wrists, stand back up while transition into a jump, and then repeat. Aim for 10 to 20 reps the first time you do these exercises.
3) Jumping Rope
Jumping rope is one of the most underrated cardio exercises out there. Not only will cardio raise your heart rate in an extremely efficient way, but you will also get in one of the best calve exercises of your life. When first starting out, you may want to ease your way into longer jump roping sessions because of the fact that it can be very hard on calves, and may extend the amount of recovery time you need.
4) Jumping Jacks
This playground classic can be used as either a core or warmup exercise for cardio and weight loss. Because of the popularity of jumping jacks, we do not need to explain how to do this exercises. Aim for 1 minute of continual jumping jacks at first and once mastered, move on to 2 minutes. Much like jump roping, you will also get a great calve exercises doing these things as well.
5) Mountain Climbers
A mountain climber is basically like you're climbing a mountain on the ground. Mountain climbers are a great way to work your core out while also getting an efficient cardio exercise in as well. To do a mountain climber, start with your hands and knees with a slight bend in your back. Bring your foot near your chest and then alternate feet. Aim for 3 reps each foot and then increase as necessary. Much like how jumping rope will effect your calves, these exercises will tire out your core fairly quickly.
Step ups are another exercise that work the booty and legs along with giving you a great cardio exercise in as well. To do this activity, you're going to need an elevated surface like a bench, box, or rock and then put your foot on it. Once your foot is on it, simply step u onto it and then lower yourself down, switch legs, and repeat.
7) Tuck Jump
The tuck jump is another full body workout that is going to melt fat away when done correctly and consistently. All you need to do with the tuck jump is jump in the air while bringing your knees u to your chest. Once you hit the ground, immediately explode up again and repeat for 30-40 reps.
8) Plank to Push-up
The plank to push up is a killer ab workout that will also build up your shoulders and chest while raising your heat rate and building up your cardio endurance. To do this exercise, first start in the plank position and hold it fonr3 seconds to get a little fatigue going. Once you’ve been in this posiiton or 3 seconds, raise yourself u into the pushup position and do 5 pushups. Once completed, drop back to the plank position and hold it for another 10 to 20 seconds.
9) Squat Jump
The squat jump is like a burpee, but instead puts the focus on the lower body instead of the upper body. The squat jump is a great way (along with the jump rope to build up your vertical jumping abilities or strengthen your lower body in an even and complete way. To do a squat jump, do a regular bodyweight squat and get as low as possible. Once you're at the bottom of your squat, explode up and jump into the air as high as you possibly can, raising your arms up into the air as you do so. If you want to make this exercise even more intense, you can slow down the squat as needed to increase the time under tension of the movement. Slowing down the movement will also eliminate any momentum that is contributing the movement an therefore making it a little eaiser on yourself.
10) Flutter Kick
The flutter kick has been one of the go to ab exercises for a long period of time. Similar to the bicycle, the flutter kick is powerful exercise that combines both cardio and ab exercises into one very efficient workout. One of the cool things about the flutter exercise is that you can moderate it to hit the elusive lower abs, and will give you an ab workout like one you’ve never had before.
To do this exercise, simply lay on your back with your alms facing the floor. Once you're on your back, raise your heels about 6 inches off he ground and begin kicking up and down, alternating feet. If you're doing this correctly, your abs should be burning immediately.
To make this exercise harder, you can flip your hands over so that your alms are facing up. When your arms are facing down, you will notice that you will often be leveraging your hands to make the exercises a little easier by taking the pressure off of your core. With your hands facing up, though, you will not be able to use your hands as leverage and will bear the entire burden of the workout on your mid to lower abs. If you want that summer 6 pack, this exercise combined with a great diet regiment is a great way to head towards that direction.
The purpose of this article was to demonstrate that cardio doesn’t have to consist of only long, boring treadmill sessions that seem to drag on forever and ever. With so many different options available, many people find that after a little bit of experimentation, they are able to find a cardio exercise that they genuinely enjoy and look forward to every single day. Or, as mentioned before, at the very least find something that they can tolerate that allows them to stick to it long enough to achieve the weight loss goals that they set for themselves.
Frequency of Workouts
When it comes to figuring out how often and how long you should be doing your workouts, you will want to begin doing timed and calculated workouts before you will be able to work out strictly by feel.
Once you first begin sticking to a consistent cardio routine, you will begin learning how to push your body and how your body will react to workouts. Once you get a better idea of how to push your body and how your body will react to various workouts, you will then be able to switch over to workouts that are not bound by time but instead by how you feel.
The way you feel in your body is the greatest tell if workout was too much or too little, and by learning to feel your body correctly, you will be able to progress and grow in your workouts without damaging your body or injuring yourself in any way.