Cardio Machine or Not to Cardio Machine?
While many of you will find that cardio machines at your local gym are ideal for helping you achieve your cardiovascular and weight loss goals, mostly because of convenience, some of you will certainly find that these machine based workout routines eventually get very stale and before long you will begin to think about what other cardio options are out there.
If this sounds familiar, this post was written just for you! I’m going to cover five of my personal favorite methods of cardiovascular exercise which you will find are ideal for changing up your boring cardio machine workout routine and for adding some fun to your fitness lifestyle.
Sure this is by no means and end all list, but I hope these ideas inspire you to try something new and help you to stay motivated and on track towards accomplishing your fitness goals!
#5. Circuit Resistance Training
Why Circuit Resistance Training?
Circuit resistance training is not going to help improve your cardio performance as much as cardio exercise.
Circuit resistance training is a great way to get all the benefits of resistance training along with some cardio benefits. How much cardio benefit you get out of your circuit training depends on how hard you work.
Circuit training eliminates rest in between sets and is useful for people who are looking to burn fat and preserve their muscle mass.
How to Incorporate Circuit Resistance Training in Your Workout Program
In order to set up a proper circuit you should learn which exercises you can perform back to back without getting tired. This means you should usually choose exercises which work opposing muscle groups or metabolic pathways to perform back to back with little or not rest in between sets.
You do not need a gym membership to use and benefit from circuit training. You can set up a circuit at home, outside or in the gym with little or no equipment. If you apply some basic knowledge about resistance and cardio training you can get tremendous resistance training and cardio workouts simultaneously.
#4. Jumping Rope
Why Jumping Rope?
When was the last time you jumped rope? For most people the answer is in kindergarten.
Jumping rope is a tremendous exercise for increasing the heart rate rapidly and challenging your cardiovascular system while you help improve your coordination, leg muscle tone, balance, and strengthen your bones and joints.
How to Incorporate Jumping Rope in Your Workout Program
The best part about jumping rope is you don’t need much equipment or space. You can use jump rope as part of your cardio-resistance training circuit or use it as a cardio workout in itself.
When is the last time you ran? Your answer is probably wrong. Running is not jogging.
Running, i.e. sprinting is something adults seldom do. Running is a very good cardio workout because it is intense and can effect your body composition dramatically.
Interval running is superior for your body than jogging or walking long distances. People who use running and sprints for their cardio workouts experience less chronic injuries, muscle imbalances and muscle loss than their long distance counterparts.
Interval running challenges the body’s fast twitch muscle fibers which could make up a large percentage of your muscle mass (depending on your genetics) which you may not exercise if you only perform long duration, low intensity cardio.
How to Incorporate Running in Your Workout Program
Since running is high intensity you should not run every day. If you are like the majority of people in the gyms across the world and perform lackadaisical long duration, low intensity exercise, running once or twice a week could make a huge difference.
You will notice that you will have increased energy and feel strong and powerful with the addition of running into your fitness program. Would you rather spend 5 hours a week jogging or 2 hours a week running?
Kickboxing is something which many people hardly ever do. Someone who tries kickboxing for the first time is likely to “gas” in about a minute.
Kickboxing is great because it not raises your heart rate but works your body in many planes of motion. You will move your body in motions which you do not do when you are living your daily life.
Besides your cardiovascular health, kickboxing will help you improve flexibility, core strength and the strength of your bones and joints.
Most people who perform kickboxing also love the fact that it helps them ease lower the stress associated with daily life.
How to Incorporate Kickboxing in Your Workout Program
You do not have to have a sparring partner or even a punching bag to kickbox. Tae Bo has been around for a while and cardio kickboxing classes are offered in any gym.
You can use kickboxing by itself as an entire workout or again, add it to your circuit workout to burn tons of calories while you have fun and release your aggression and tension.
A great and fun addition to your garage or spare room is a punching bag or Bob, which is a rubber looking tough guy which you can punch, kick and even choke if that is your thing.
Hiking is one of the best cardio workouts simply because when you are on a hike, it does not feel like exercise.
Hiking burns a tremendous amount of calories because it lasts for a long duration. Hiking is so great because it is therapeutic for most people.
When you hike, you are usually going uphill which can help you improve your strength of your leg muscles as well as your cardiovascular health
How to Incorporate Hiking in Your Workout Program
Hiking requires spare time so it is best for weekends and trips.
Hiking while on vacation gives you a great excuse to get a great exercise session while exploring and relaxing.
If you think you need more information, here’s some simple advice…
Take a Hike!
The Bottom Line
Getting out of the gym and taking a break from cardio machines is not only an ideal way to mix up your workouts but it will surely put some fun back into the day to day workout grind.
Whether you choose hiking, running, jumping rope, cycling, kickboxing, circuit resistance training, or some other form of exercise as your outlet, you will be pleasantly surprised to find that taking a simple break from your existing routine can help you stay motivated and focused on your fitness goals.
I hope you found my list insightful and have lots of fun changing things up!