Have Fun With Your Cardio Workouts At the Gym or at Home
Cardio sometimes seems like the most difficult part of getting back in, or staying in, shape.
It doesn't have to be this way. By making cardio workouts a bit more fun and nuanced than the simple activity itself, we can improve the way we experience cardio workouts and make them more enjoyable and effective. The monotony and lack of mental stimulation when participating in cardio workouts makes them the most susceptible form of exercise to quitting, which is why we need to spice them up and personalize these workouts to remain engaged and committed to our physical well-being. There are many ways to do this, including but not limited to setting micro-goals for the workout. Another interesting way to keep cardio fun and lively is to workout in circuits, alternating between separate cardio exercises in timed segments. Engaging the mind while working on your cardio fitness is the key to unlocking your full potential and ability. So, let's dive in and discuss the various ways in which certain cardio exercises can be carried out!
1 - The Treadmill
The first form of cardio exercise is the treadmill. Many people tend to think of the treadmill as a simple and straightforward machine, but there's more to treadmill exercise than meets the eye. It's common to see folks exercising on treadmills by walking or running at a constant pace. This is a big mistake. The most effective way to engage a treadmill is to slow down and speed up, repeatedly. This alternation of strenuous and non-strenuous exercise builds up lung capacity over time and is a healthy way to apply good stress to your heart. These constant stressed and non-stressed states lay at the center of a healthy cardiovascular system. Another trick to improve your treadmill workouts is to add micro-goals to the workout, such as attempting to hit a certain mile marker by a certain timestamp on the clock or to run an incline for a set period of time.
2 - The Stair Climb Machine
The second form of cardio exercise to be discussed is the stair climb machine. Stair climb machines are great for leg muscle strength and stamina (and cardio). However, we're here for the cardio. When using a stair climber, be sure to maintain form. It's imperative that one keeps their hips centered on the machine above their legs. The position of your arms also adds to the exercise. You should keep your arms bent at a roughly 90º angle and pump them as if walking or running with each step. Additionally, remember that it's the intensity of the workout, not the duration, that will contribute to your cardio health. Therefore, strive to hit a half hour on the stair climb machine and anywhere from 50 to 90 steps a minute. It's ok if you cannot get to 30 minutes, just be sure to push yourself for however long you can. If you don’t have a machine, but have stairs at home, this can be an acceptable substitute, especially if you live in an apartment building.
3 - The Exercise Bike/Spinning
The third form of cardio exercise to discuss is the exercise bike. The exercise bike is a fantastic form of cardio exercise for folks looking to hit their leg muscles as well. Also, for folks with knee issues, the exercise bike is the most convenient cardio exercise machine thanks to its lack of constant pressure on the knee joints. Exercise bikes are also very fun cardio machines for micro-goal setting. Having more control over your pedal rotations than the miles you may be trudging on a treadmill, you can speed up your peddling to hit certain mile markers in specified time frames. Additionally, increasing/decreasing resistance is a great way to pursue the on/off strenuous states previously discussed in the treadmill section. Alternating high intensity and low intensity will increase lung capacity, heart/cardio health, and will engage your leg muscles for growth in strength.
4 - Circuit Training
A fantastic way to push your stamina and cardio capacity is to create an exercise circuit involving multiple pieces of equipment or exercises. For instance, one could do five minutes on each of the previous listed machines and 5 minutes hitting a heavy bag as a set. Then perform three sets. You can also increase or decrease the circuit increments depending on the intensity, where higher intensity should be paired with shorter time increments and lower intensity should be prolonged.