Disclaimer: Please be aware that information in this article is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of a qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding an injury or medical condition.
Written by: Taylor Post
Certified Athletic Therapist
When it comes to exercise, there a two kinds of people in the world. Those who love cardio (cardiovascular exercise), and those who avoid it like the dentist. If you would rather have a root canal than sweat it out on the treadmill, look no further! We have come up with some creative ways for you to skip the elliptical and help introduce some cardio into your workouts.
First off, why is cardio so important anyway? Aerobic exercise burns calories to help keep a healthy weight, lower blood pressure, and increase cardiac output. This means more blood is pumped with each heartbeat, which leads to less overall stress on your heart and a lower resting heart rate. A stronger heart also makes daily activities like climbing stairs and moving your body at home or at work much easier.
As much as cardio gets a bad rep, it is a true foundation of physical fitness… but it often leads to hours of plodding along like a zombie among the rows of exercise machines at the gym. Is anyone else sick of watching re-runs on HGTV or the food network while jogging?? Instead, try these 4 sneaky, less monotonous ways to get the benefit of a cardio workout.
Try an AMRAP
Superset with a Cardio Move
Inject your regular strength routine with an exercise or movement that will elevate your heart rate. Superset means moving from one exercise to another without a break in between. Simply pair up a traditional strength exercise, with one that is more cardio based. This will keep your heart rate and metabolism up without hindering your weight training goals to build muscle. Aim to perform 3-4 sets of 6-15 repetitions. You can rest 60-90 seconds between sets, but not between the two different exercises (eg. perform 10 jumping jacks followed immediately by 10 goblet squats, then rest 60-90 seconds. Repeat for 3-4 rounds). We have listed some awesome combinations below to get you started:
High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) or Tabata Workout
This type of workout requires you to work at a very high intensity for short periods of time. For example 20 seconds of work, followed by ten seconds of rest, for a total of four minutes. Or, 40 seconds of work, followed by 20 seconds of rest, for four rounds (16 minutes). You can adjust the interval lengths based on the difficulty of the exercises and your fitness level. HIIT or Tabata workouts are incredibly efficient workouts because they require your body to work harder to return to its resting state. They also pack a big punch in a short amount of time, which is perfect if you are short for time.
While there is no denying the benefits of regular cardiovascular exercise, that doesn’t mean it’s easy to make cardio a regular routine. The Canadian Physical Activity Guidelines state that adults should accumulate at least 150 minutes of moderate- to vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity per week, in bouts of 10 minutes or more (Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology, 2011). Just remember that if you keep an open mind and get creative, there are plenty of ways to get your heart rate up. You shouldn’t feel confined to the treadmill!
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