An integral part of any fitness regime, cardiovascular exercises are highly recommended for heart health and overall fitness. A cardiovascular exercise is any activity that works your heart and lungs, raising your heartbeats per minute and promoting the health of your cardiovascular system. High intensity cardio workouts help to increase stamina and lose weight. They are one of the best ways to burn fat and tone your body. Exercising with a cardio routine 4-5 times a week, for 30 to 40 minutes is something that people all over the world recommend as a lifestyle change for increased fitness levels and overall health.
Cardio Workout Routines
Following is a list of cardio exercises and the approximate number of calories burnt in a given time frame, for a body weight of 145 lbs. You can combine different workouts and exercises, or choose to stick to a given routine that works best for you. Ideally, these workouts should be alternated with days of weight training to build muscle mass and strengthen the body.
This is one of the best options if you find it difficult to get yourself to a gym. All you need is a good pair of running shoes to get your cardio fix. Running raises your heart rate, and strengthens the lungs by maximizing their potential through deep breathing patterns. Weight loss is rapid in the initial stage of running, after which it generally stabilizes. Many runners also prefer this method, because over a period of time, at maximum potential of running and jogging, they experience what is known as ‘runner’s high’ – a state in which endorphins are released into the blood stream, inducing a state of euphoria. Running can burn up to 300 calories in 30 minutes.
A cross trainer is a machine that provides a full body workout by working your legs and arms simultaneously. They are a good option for those seeking high intensity cardio workouts with low impact on the joints, since you can increase the resistance by programming functions on the machine. It also ensures that you don’t cause stress to your knees or your feet. Cross trainers are now available with levels of intensity and programs that will differ, depending on whether you want cardio benefits, want to burn fat, lose weight, or tone. Working out on a cross trainer can burn up to 300 calories in a 30 minute workout.
Many women choose aerobics in its various forms (dance aerobics, step aerobics, and so on), as it is the most enjoyable way to get an effective cardio workout. Aerobic exercises involve working large muscle groups and are great for quick weight loss. Most aerobic routines are strenuous, and thereby, raise heartbeats quickly. These exercises can burn up to 400 calories in 30 minutes.
Swimming is a great way to get your heart pumping. It’s one of the easiest ways to get a workout by enjoying yourself. It’s also a preferred form of exercise for those suffering from joint problems, because the water resistance reduces the impact on your body and raises the effort needed for motion. Since you use your entire body while swimming, it not only raises your heartbeat, but also tones muscles in your arms and legs. The crawl is the fastest and most efficient swimming style to burn calories, whereas strokes like the butterfly and breast stroke give your back and shoulders a great workout. Swimming can burn approximately 400 calories in 30 minutes.
Cycling is one of the best routines for a lower body workout. It targets the thigh and leg muscles, and can also strengthen the back by maintaining posture. You can choose a stationary cycle, or get out in the open for some fresh air with your exercise routine. Cycling is another low-impact option for those with joint pain. It can burn between 250 and 500 calories in 30 minutes, depending on speed and incline.
High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)
This is a workout routine that follows short bursts of high-intensity exercise alternating with low-intensity exercise. For example, one method of HIIT is 45 seconds of sprinting, alternating with 2 minutes of jogging or brisk walking over a period of 15 minutes. Interval training can actually burn calories faster, and give you a more efficient workout than lower intensity versions for longer periods of time.
Whichever form of exercise you choose to take up, remember to warm up and cool down by practicing specific stretching exercises and techniques. Your muscles will thank you after your workout. It’s always safer to build up to a high intensity cardio workout gradually, and also to pace yourself to stay motivated. Before you take on a cardio workout, do make sure you clear it with your doctor if you are attempting it for the first time, recovering from an illness, or are on any kind of medication. Most of us spend the better part of the day in sedentary jobs that do nothing for health, and often raise stress to dangerous levels. High intensity cardio workouts can function as great stress busters and mood elevators. Inculcate a daily exercise routine into your lifestyle, and you’ll enjoy the benefits for years to come!