Spring into Action
With Spring virtually on our doorstep, what better time is there to dust off you gym kit and “Spring into Action” with some cardio exercises.
Cardio exercises benefit the body by increasing the bodies heart rate and quickening breathing which both condition your heart and lungs to work more efficiently. Other benefits associated with the exercises are;
Improved blood circulation/immune system
fat loss/weight reduction
increased bone density
5 great cardio exercises to start with are:
Walking is the easiest cardio exercise to do and is a great way to start if you have been inactive for a while. It’s as easy as putting one foot in front of the other. A daily low impact walk can be done by just walking to the shops and taken further with dedicated walks around the country side.
If you intend on walking over longer distances or more undulating terrain, investing in some good walking shoes/boots to provide stability, protection and keeping your feet dry. Comfortable clothing is also important.
Country side walks will also enhance your appreciation of both flora and fauna.
One of the more popular activities when thinking about cardio vascular exercises. Much like walking, putting one foot in front of the other is the main theory, but with a little more speed. Start by walking and then slowly graduating into a brisk walk/ jog, and when you feel right, a run. The key is to take it slowly and starting with a circuit can often provide confidence.
Proper footwear is essential as the impact on the joints can be quite heavy . Comfortable clothing is also recommended, especially as the temperature can be very cool if running in the morning or hot in the summer.
Running is great for the muscles, providing strength and tone ,especially the calves, glutes and hamstrings. There’s also no better way to get lost in your thoughts as it’s great for reducing stress.
Unlike running or walking, cycling will require a little more equipment, namely a bike!. Once sorted, cycling is a great form of low impact, cardio exercise that combines many of the benefits that running and walking both have to offer.
As the bike will allow you to cover greater distances and therefore prolonging the cardio benefits. The toning affect from cycling will mainly occur in the lower half of your body, as the calves and quads do most of the work while in the saddle.
Along with the bike, comfortable clothing is essential for the long journeys, usually in some form of lycra to help show off all your hard work.
For those not comfortable to head out on the roads, starting off with a spin class or stationary bike on a stand is a great way to begin.
One of the best forms of low impact, cardio exercise that will tone the whole body. Unless you have a pool at home, it will usually require a drive to the closest indoor pool or for those that like a fresher challenge, a lido, lake or the ocean.
Along with the cardio benefits, swimming is also great for strengthening your core body muscles.
For those that are limited in time, skipping is a great cardio workout that can quickly increase your heart rate. A ten minute work out has been said to be the same as a 30 minute jog.
Depending on how aggressive you want to be, skipping can either be a gentle trot or full on workout. To reduce the impact on your joints, exercising on the grass, yoga mat or an old carpet off cut will all help.
As your confidence and coordination improve, different routines and actions can be adopted to make the exercise more challenging.
It doesn’t really matter what form of exercise you decide to do as ballroom dancing, boxing, rowing or HIIT are also great for getting your heart rate up. Choose the activity that suits your body type and if it’s just about trying something new, start gently and keep with it as the first few days are definitely the toughest.
Now that the days are slowly getting longer, it is definitely easier to get out and about and there’s no better way to start the day when that happens…
Cardio is so good for you, especially if your sitting at a desk all day. To go for a walk or jog at lunchtime, not only breaks the day up but gets you out in the fresh air. It has also been proven productivity and alertness increase as a result.