Indoor and Outdoor Cardio Exercise Options

Get a great indoor cardio workout.

Don’t get bored doing the same old cardio routine. Here are some great cardio options to help keep you engaged and make heart health a priority in your life.

Getting in some cardio exercise each week is essential for your heart health. However, quite often, people get stuck in a routine that they don’t enjoy. As a result, they start skipping this essential part of a balanced exercise routine.

Cardiovascular exercise doesn’t have to be tedious or boring because there are so many ways that you can incorporate a good heart pumping routine into your week. You can exercise at the gym, at home or outside because of the many ways that you can move to work your heart muscle. Here are some cardio exercise options:

Treadmill: On a treadmill, you can perform a low-impact cardio exercise, such as walking. Or, you can pick up your pace and run or sprint to get your dose of high-impact exercise. The treadmill is a great piece of equipment and you can vary your routine, based on your goals and current level of fitness. Most machines have pre- programmed routines to help you work within your target heart rate zone.

Rowing machine: The rowing machine, in my opinion, is one of the most underused machines in the gym, yet it is great for getting in a full body workout. The rowing action helps to strengthen the upper body and truly engages the core muscles. It is a very low-impact form of cardio exercise, making it a perfect choice for any beginner. You can vary your intensity level to increase your calorie burn and push your body at a level that feels right for you.

Stair-climbing: Walking up stairs is a great muscle-building form of cardio exercise. It works great for strengthening your legs and gluts. Doing it for a prolonged interval can make it a very effective cardio training tool. Walking up steps is a moderate impact activity and you can increase the impact by running instead of walking.

Stationary bike: Cycling is a great option if you want to burn extra calories, build muscle or improve your overall cardio fitness level. It’s an excellent exercise for elite athletes or beginners. With cycling, you have the option to add resistance to make it more challenging, do steady state training to boost your cardiovascular endurance or work for speed and build muscle. Whatever your choice, there is no denying that cycling is a great low-impact cardio choice.

Traditional aerobic moves: If you don’t have access to equipment, good old jumping jacks, jumping rope, hopping or any activity that gets your heart rate up is a great choice. There are lots of cardio-inspired routines that you can follow online that require no equipment and limited space.

Dancing: Dancing is great for improving your cardiovascular fitness and your coordination. Many people find that a dance workout also serves as good stress relief. It’s great if you can attend a class at a club or studio because they are often more challenging than doing it alone, but dancing at home or on a night out can be a great way to squeeze in your cardio routine.

Battle ropes: If you have been into a cross fit gym, I am sure you have seen the weighted battle ropes attached to a stationary object. They are a perfect for building upper body and core strength. Several of the exercises that you can do with the weighted ropes, such as jumping jack and jumps, can really increase the impact and intensity level of this exercise.

Weight and circuit training: You can make your next strength training workout more cardiovascular in nature. Either reduce your recovery time and train in a circuit style that keeps your heart rate elevated for a longer duration, or incorporate some aerobic moves in between your traditional weight sets. Training in this way is perfect if you are short on time and want to ensure your workout is well-balanced.

Swimming: Water exercise and swimming is a low-impact form of cardio that is great for people who are recovering from injury and need a low-impact choice. Swimming is a full body exercise and many people find that being in the water can be quite therapeutic.

You get to personalize your workouts to suit your individual needs and goals. Try to be active on at least five days of the week for a minimum of 30 minutes to ensure that you are reaping the heart health benefits that are associated with living a healthy, active lifestyle.

Written by Samantha Clayton, AFAA, ISSA. Samantha is Sr. Director of Fitness Education at Herbalife.

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