Cardio is undoubtedly one of the best ways to get that summer body you’ve been wanting. But if you thought that running was all there is to cardio, then we’re here to tell you that it isn’t! First off, let’s start by understanding some basics.
What is cardio?
Cardio, short for “cardiovascular” is generally referred to for exercises that increase endurance of circulatory system. Any activity that gets your heart rate up to about 50-70% of your maximum heart rate, can be classified as cardio. Workouts that include cardio make your heart beat faster, pump more blood through your system which carries oxygen and nutrients to every cell.
How will cardio benefit you?
Cardio-workouts help you lose weight, are a great way to get some exercise for your heart (Which by the way, is like any other muscle that needs regular exercise) and help fight depression. Running, or any other higher-intensity activity releases endorphins or “happy hormones”, that enhance mood. Cardio-exercises also help you sleep better. And above all, it heightens your confidence.
What are the types of cardio?
Cardio-workouts can be broadly classified into two types:
This range of exercises is for beginners, people with medical conditions, or elderlies. Generally these exercises last for longer duration of time, and enhance your body’s endurance for workouts without stressing the joints. Some of these low-intensity workouts are: Step aerobics, Jogging, Swimming, Biking, Rope skipping among many more
These set of exercises are for people who want to burn more fat, and fast. Also called High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT), these workouts push your body out of its comfort zone, then ease it back into a comfortable state, and then repeat the same set with higher intensity after a short interval. These workouts are more challenging, some of them are: sprinting, Burpees, Tabata Squats, Elliptical
So, how do you cardio your way to a hot summer body?
If you’re wondering how to get started with cardio-workouts to get that beach body, don’t worry. We’re giving you 3 easy, do-able ideas for cardio.
#1 Quick & Easy Cardio Blast
Total time: 15 (Advanced) to 30 (beginner) minutes
All you have to do is speed up for the number of minutes or seconds listed for your level, then go at an easy pace for a minute or two to cool down. Repeat 8 times for a complete session. Don’t forget to warm up for 5 minutes before starting.
Sprint: 1 minute jog
Cool down: 2 minute walk
Sprint: 30 second sprint
Cool down: 60-90 second walk
Sprint: 20 second running
Cool down: 60 second walk
This quick workout can be done using a treadmill, or without too.
#2 Reverse Cardio Workout
This workout can be done using the elliptical or indoor cycle, or a stairclimber. All you’ve got to do is start out faster than normal at a challenging level, and slow down every 3 minutes until you hit an easy pace. Pick your favourite tunes, and blast them at full-power while you do this workout to make it fun.
#3 Mix & Melt Cardio
Walk, run or hop on the elliptical for a fat burning workout.
Total Time: 40 minutes
5 minutes: Warm up at an easy pace, reaching RPE 5
30 minutes: Complete eight 1-minute faster sprints (RPE 8 or 9) over 30 minutes, returning to RPE 6 between the bursts
5 minutes: Get on a steady comfortable RPE of 3
The workouts are best enjoyed with a steady blast of your favourite songs. So one way to get really motivated is to make a playlist for your workouts, and keep updating it with new songs every time you hit the gym. Remember to take it steady, and consult your fitness trainer before starting a new workout. Also, the right diet can play a big role in determining your overall success.