by Kelsey Emmanuel
Running is a great cardiovascular exercise, but it is not everyone’s cup of tea. Fortunately, you don’t need to run your shins off on a treadmill in order to achieve optimal cardiovascular strength. There are so many ways to improve your heart health: Cross training and switching up exercises is key when it comes to preventing injuries, becoming a stronger athlete and staying motivated in workouts. Now, for those of you opposed to running let’s get comfortable with the word “cardio” and create a cardio routine that you love!
High-Intesity interval Training
It is 7 p.m., and you just finished doing some errands. Your favorite show is about to start in 60 minutes, and you didn’t work out yet today. You grab your phone and set a 10-minute timer and pull up a recent HIIT workout you saved on Pinterest. You crank out a 10-minute workout of jumping jacks, push-ups, squats and wall-sits, and voilà! Your cardio workout is complete, and you still have time to take a shower and be on time to watch the new episode of Modern Family.
Efficiency is just one perk to HIIT training. Many studies have shown that completing a 10-minute high-intensity interval training session is more beneficial, burns more calories and achieves better progress than jogging at a steady pace for an hour.
HIIT workouts are low maintenance because they don’t require equipment. Plyometric movements such as high knees, jump squats, burpees and planks with shoulder taps will get your heart rate pumping and leave you in a sweat puddle after 10 minutes. If you are feeling eager to spice up your quick workout, you can add a kettlebell or nearby unopened bag of dog food to your movements for an extra challenge.
Sports and Recreation
With the ease of the Internet, we can easily organize groups and join local clubs that offer recreational sports. Pick-up games are a fun way to socialize and sweat! Get some good laughs in with friends while playing a pick-up game of basketball, pickleball, frisbee golf or volleyball. Getting involved in healthy competition and meeting new people are two bonuses that come with this heart-healthy activity. Creating good camaraderie with a group of people can also help hold you accountable to coming to the next event. Teamwork, sportsmanship, friendship leadership, confidence, motivation, and happiness are all things people can learn and grow through recreation.
Low Impact Cardio Exercises for People with Joint Pain
Besides playing your favorite sport or doing a quick HIIT workout, you can get a cardio session in through different activities such as rowing, cycling, swimming, going for a brisk walk with a friend in the park, faster-paced yoga, and much more! These low-impact exercises help prevent putting a high amount of stress on your joints but still allow you to benefit from cardiovascular exercise. When people start to suffer from joint pain, it’s tempting to stop physical activity overall. Instead of eliminating all exercise, it is best to use low-impact workouts in order to work the muscles and tendons that provide stability and strength around the joints. If you are just coming out of an injury or starting to exercise regularly, low impact exercises are ideal and safe.