MOUNT KISCO, N.Y. -- Cardio is an important part of any exercise program. Participating in 30 to 90 minutes of blood pumping activities three to five times a week is essential to stay healthy, experts agree. Benefits of cardio workouts include weight loss, heart and lung health, increased bone density, better sleep, reduced stress and anxiety, and more energy.
While the treadmill is often the “go to” piece of equipment at the gym, there are plenty of fun ways to get that heart rate up without running.
Swimming is a a great full body workout and is easier on joints than running. Swimming laps not only gets your heart rate up, it engages your core, back, shoulders, and arms in a way other cardio exercises aren't able to do.
Bikes, stair climbers, and cross trainers all offer great cardio workouts and focus on other areas of the body. Adding some variety to your cardio programming gives other muscles a chance to do some work, and keeps you heart rate elevated.
Spinning, Zumba, TRX, boxing, and even power yoga will elevate your heart rate and help you burn calories. Group fitness classes are great ways to stay energized and motivated and can be just plain fun!
If you’re pressed for time or are wary of equipment, a body weight, high intensity workout will get you in shape fast. Combining short bursts of activity, like squats, lunges, burpees, jumping rope, push ups, and situps, with brief rest periods, your heart remains elevated and your body in constant motion.
Even if the treadmill is your tried and true equipment, by incorporating new cardio routines into your fitness plan, you can avoid burnout and performance plateauing, stay motivated, and feel great next time you hit the treadmill.