“Healthy Series” Exercise – Cardio

There seems to be a lot in the media lately about cardio exercise. Do you need it at all? Should you do only cardio? It’s good for your heart, bad for your heart, good for you knees, bad for your knees, etc. Just a lot of mixed messages that pour out of every crevice of media.
Personally, since I run so many races, I need cardio to condition myself for the races. I also think that everyone should get up and get moving and am a big fan of cardio/strength combination workouts. I also think, if cardio is going to get you exercising, then do cardio. If its not, then find something that will. But that’s just my non-professional two cents on the subject.

I thought I’d share some of my favorite ways to get cardio exercise in to my week.

1 – Running. I run in various ways. Often I’m hoping on our treadmill to pound out a specific workout. I will do a straight long walk on there at a comfortable pace. Or, shake it up with an interval or tempo run. I especially love interval runs because I feel like I push myself to a limit and feel so good afterward. I also run outside from time-to-time. I like to do this when I have a buddy to run with, but have a good 2.5 mile loop around our current home where I feel comfortable going out by myself.
A great way to add in some running is to join a group or fundraising team (like Team in Training). The other members will help motivate you and entertain you if getting out is something you struggle with.

2 – Walking. Cop out? Nah…Its not the same as running. What I like about walking is that it doesn’t seem as scary or intimidating as going for a run. Often Jon and I will grab our puppers and go for a long walk. We’ve taken him on that 2.5 mile loop and he did great (yes, it is WAAAAAY slower with him along).

3 – HIIT. Have you tried HIIT (High-Intensity Interval Training)? It alternates between high intensity exercises and low intensity or rest periods. We used this in the bootcamp classes I did over the winter and I loved it. We would do a minute of an exercise (like walking lunges or sprints) and then do 30 seconds of rest. IT is a TOUGH workout and you definitely “feel the burn.” One form of this is Tabata, a four minute series where you do 20 seconds of high intensity exercise and then take a 10 second break. Again, we did this in our boot camp class. We would do four different exercises and then repeat for a full four minutes, take a minute break and go into a second round with four different exercises and then repeat. Wow…talk about tiring!

4 – TRX Class. If you get a good trainer for your class, TRX can actually be a cardio workout. It just depends on the exercises you are doing and how quickly you move between them. Its like any strength class, if you move from one thing to the next quickly, you’ll up your heart-rate and it will become a cardio workout or combo workout.

5 – Get Moving or Play. Okay this one isn’t really an “exercise” routine, but if you want to improve your cardiovascular system, you can make choices in your daily life to increase your movement. My two favorite ways are this…park farther away from the door when you are shopping (I like to park my car at one spot at the local outlet center and walk the entire exterior as I shop, before I return to my car). And, my other favorite way is to play with our dog or our niece. Phew! They both have so much energy and can wear us out, but it does get us moving!

How do you get your cardio??

~H

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