Whether you like it or not, cardio is an important part of maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Cardio activity burns more calories than other forms of exercise and is essential for long-term cardiovascular health.
In other words, engaging in activities that elevate your heart rate and improve fitness on a regular basis can reduce your risk of heart disease, lower your blood pressure and cholesterol, and help you reach and maintain a healthy weight.
Sounds good? Not if you despise cardio.
If you despise cardio, you're probably not doing it frequently enough to reap the benefits (the CDC recommends at least 150 minutes of cardio per week). Even if you manage to squeeze in regular cardio sessions, if you don't love them, you're less likely to stick with them over time.
Don't give up. You may not become a cardio fan, but you may make your workouts more enjoyable. Start with these seven tactics recommended by experts.
#1 LOOK FOR CARDIO ACTIVITIES THAT YOU ENJOY.
Do you despise doing cardio? Or do you simply despise specific types of cardio?
If you avoid cardio, it's possible that you haven't found the proper activity for you. Experiment with several activities until you find one that you like.
Looking for motivation? Running, walking, cycling, downhill skiing, rowing, swimming, dance classes, boxing, water aerobics, kickboxing, cross-country skiing, surfing, kayaking, hiking, rollerblading, circuit training, sled pushing and pulling, battle rope training, jumping rope, stair climbing, tennis, high-intensity interval training (HIIT), and golfing are just a few of the cardio activities to try.
If you join a gym, you'll have access to a selection of cardio machines. Treadmill, step mill, elliptical, recumbent cycle, upright bike, rowing machine, vertical climber, air bike, and ski ergometer are some of the machines you might see.
#2 ATTEND A CLASS
Sign up for a fitness class instead of trying to work out on your own. Cardio can be made enjoyable by learning a new skill such as boxing, challenging oneself with intricate dance routines, or participating in a group workout. If you transform yourself into a learner, the time will fly by. Online lessons are now available at many gyms and fitness studios.
#3 FORGET STEADY STATE CARDIO
Even the most ardent cardio fans might become bored with steady-state routines. Try varying things up instead of setting and forgetting your pace for the duration of your run, bike, or swim.
There are numerous methods for keeping your workout fresh. Instead of slogging away for 30 minutes nonstop at the gym, how about taking 10-minute blocks on three different cardio equipment (such as the treadmill, rower, and bike).
If you don't want to machine-hop or your cardio equipment is limited, spice up your workout by changing the pace, incline, or resistance. Even tiny changes, such as increasing your treadmill speed by 0.1 per minute or alternating blocks of 5% incline walks with flat runs, can make it less of a chore.
Still having trouble with the treadmill, bike, or elliptical? Replace regular cardio with a circuit that includes high-intensity exercises like jump rope, burpees, and medicine ball smashes.
On the NEOU App, try this workout from Mathew Forzaglia, a qualified personal trainer and the creator of Forzag Fitness: Complete 5 pushups, 10 bodyweight squats, and 15 high knees every minute on the minute. After you've performed those exercises, take a minute to rest before repeating. Repeat for six minutes.
#4 GRAB A FRIEND
Exercise is generally more enjoyable when you have someone to share it with. Invite a family member to join you for a virtual dance lesson; or join an online fitness community to exchange experiences, ideas, and encouragement.
#5 REGISTER FOR AN EVENT
Sign up for a 5K, 50-mile bike ride, triathlon, obstacle event, or trail marathon if you appreciate competition. Competition can drive you to get out and workout, and it's also enjoyable to see your improvement over time.
To make it more enjoyable, see if you can persuade a friend or family member to sign up as well.
#6 JAM OUT
Making cardio more fun is easy with music. Make a playlist of your favorite songs and try to time your steps or strokes to the beat. You could be running at an easy, moderate speed for a while before transitioning to an all-out sprint the next, depending on the music you chose.
If you're exercising outside in low-visibility or high-traffic locations, you might want to forego the music.
#7 TURN IT INTO A GAME
There are plenty of fitness game apps on the app store that you can check out. One of my favorites is Zombies, Run!
You play as a survivor of the zombie apocalypse on your trek to one of humanity's remaining strongholds in this virtual game. To acquire supplies and rescue other survivors, you'll walk and jog (you can also row, cycle, or use the elliptical), then speed up to avoid zombies. Simply put your headphones on to listen to music while following game signals.