Experts recommend that healthy adults perform a 30-minute cardio exercise five times a week. Its benefits include increased blood flow, decreased chances of stroke, better blood sugar control, and improved brain functioning. It is quite understandable though that if you’re just starting to exercise, 30 minutes can seem daunting. If such is the case with you, you don’t have to perform 30 minutes of exercise every day right then and there. Start with just 10 to 15 minutes a day, and increase it gradually as you build up your fitness level.
You may ask, “What’s the best cardio exercise for me?” If you’re a beginner, it’s important that you like the activity; otherwise, it would be difficult for you to sustain it. The good news is that any activity that increases your heart rate and maintains it for a period of time is considered cardio. Your choices are varied — cycling, dancing, walking, and so on. Also, while you may be very keen on maximising the benefits of cardio exercise, avoid overwhelming yourself with vigorous-intensity cardio workouts. A beginner can most benefit from moderate-intensity cardio. For instance, start with a brisk walk first instead of a jog or a run.
Your workout routine should not end in cardio exercise, though. As you ease into it, take it up a notch by incorporating resistance training into it. Besides cardio activity, adults are advised to do moderate muscle-strengthening activities two or more days a week. If you end up lifting weights, protect those hands with gloves or wraps.
Whether you wish to do your cardio exercise outdoors or indoors depends on your preference, of course. The main thing is that you enjoy it and you can stick to it. Now if you wish to do equipment-free cardio exercise in the comfort of your home, here are some examples of such exercise. For beginners, these include:
- Spot Running: This is as simple as it gets. The idea is that you simply run on the spot. You will be surprised that after just a couple of minutes you will start to get warm and sweat. It is a great exercise to get the heart pumping in the luxury of your own home. Try to work up to 5 rounds of 45 seconds running on the spot followed by 15 seconds rest. You’ll be amazed by the results.
- Star Jumps: Again, sticking with the theme of 45 seconds on and 15 seconds rest, try star jumps. This is a matter of jumping around 6 inches of the ground and opening your legs to the side, shoulder width, as you jump. At the same time, raise your alms to the side, above your head and clap them together. See if you can work up to 5 rounds.
- Stair climbing: Many go to the gym to workout on the steps, but if you have them in your house then they make a great cardio workout. You only need one step and the technique is, left leg on, right leg on left leg back down, right leg back down. Do ten left leg first, then ten right leg first. Continue to switch until you’ve done your 45 seconds and then take a 15 second rest. Again, work up to 5 sets if you can.
Once you are comfortable doing the above exercises, you can combine them together for a great workout. If you work through each one, spot running, star jumps then stair climbing, resting for 15 seconds between each exercise, then after 15 minutes you will have had a really good cardio workout. Go slowly at first and work your way up.
One challenge you may encounter as you begin doing regular cardio exercise is sticking to it. You can come up with so many reasons to skip it. As such, besides performing an activity that you enjoy, schedule it; make it a part of your daily appointment. Or, if you find doing the same workout every week boring, you can always mix it up. Another good thing about cardio exercise is that changing it up can be quite easy. Also, as your fitness level increases, you can perform more advanced forms of cardio, such as interval training. For more exercise and fitness advice visit Elite Body Squad.