Health professionals recommend that we engage in cardio activity 3 to 5 days per week to provide the resistance our heart needs to maintain optimum cardiovascular fitness. A good cardio workout requires that you reach your target heart rate, which can be calculated by subtracting your age from 220. While tread mills, elliptical machines, and weight training are all excellent ways to get your heart pumping, the conventional gym scene doesn”t appeal to everyone. Following, are 5 great alternatives.
Why not try high-impact cardio kickboxing? Similar to aerobics, it has the intensity needed for strengthening the heart while toning muscles. But different from aerobics, kickboxing is not repetitive, making it easier to maintain an interest in doing it regularly. You will punch, kick, or even jump rope while engaged in this full body workout. The activity fits well into busy schedules, taking less that 50% of the time that it takes to do traditional exercise on gym equipment.
Relying on leg strength, bicycling increases endurance if you vary your path. Map out a plan that includes both small and large grades with level spots in between. It”s not likely that you”ll get bored bicycling as you can use several path variations to keep the scenery fresh and interesting.
Swimming, like kick boxing, is a full body exercise. But in contrast, the support of the water makes it easier on the joints, minimizing the risk of injury. Swimming benefits the heart, stimulates circulation, and lowers blood pressure. It is ideal for those who travel, as you can generally gain access to pools through destination hotels, YMCAs, or health clubs.
Walking is something you already know how to do. Just step it up a few notches and you have a convenient cardio exercise. As in bicycling, choose paths with built in resistance. This is a great exercise to do with a friend, allowing each person work at their own pace, engage in a little friendly competition, or to simply act as moral support.
Racquetball includes side-to-side sprints, turning, and twisting. You”ll have no problem getting your heart rate up in this strenuous game. It takes practice to learn the game, so don”t start out playing with someone who is experienced–it would be too easy to get hurt. Begin by taking lessons or playing alone.
All forms of cardio exercise should have warm-up, stretching, and cooling-down activities. The duration of your actual exercise time should be 20 -60 minutes, depending on the type of exercise you choose. You can test your heart rate at any time while exercising. To do this, place your thumb on your wrist at the underside base of your opposite hand to locate your pulse. Count the beats for 15 seconds. Then, multiply that number four. The answer is your heart rate. If it isn”t in your target range, re-evaluate your methods. You might need to step it up or slow it down. Monitoring your progress will ensure you get the highest possible benefit from your cardio workouts.
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