Cardio exercise is any exercise that raises your heart rate. Your heart is a muscle so working it makes it stronger! I used to be on the swim and cross country teams in high school so I was in pretty good shape. But the older I got, the more cardio exercise became torturous. I want to improve my endurance so I can do physical activity without losing my breath so quickly. But I get so bored of doing the same thing. So I looked for new ways to get my cardio in. Here are three forms of cardio I like to do.
Walking on an Incline
I recently incorporated walking on an incline on the treadmill into my workout routine. I used to think, Pfft, walking is lame. I’m not going to feel like I worked out at all. Boy was I wrong. Walking on an incline gets my heart rate as high as it would be if I ran. The higher the incline, the more intense the workout. I love it. I get a good sweat on and I can read while I walk. This is great for people who don’t like running or prefer lower-impact training. It causes less strain on your joints and it works your stabilizer muscles – glutes, hips, core, and back. Highly highly recommend!
I have a love/hate relationship with running. Sometimes I feel amazing after a run, sometimes it just sucks and I don’t want to do it. But overall, I like the convenience of running because you can do it anywhere. When I trained for my 10K a few months back, I realized I wasn’t running efficiently so I worked on fixing my running form. My form improved tremendously so now running doesn’t hurt as much. I run on the treadmill more frequently than outside because it’s easier and I can jump into my strength training right away. A tip to emulate running outside: increase the incline by 1-1.5% to account for wind and gravity.
I haven’t swam in a really long time but it’s something I used to love doing. So I figured I could add it back into my workout routine. A public pool opened up near my house so it’s super convenient. I like that I can swim a few laps and then use the steam room or sauna afterwards. They also have a pool with water jets that can massage your muscles. Swimming is great for people who prefer lower-impact exercise. Unfortunately it’s the type of exercise that does require some lessons. I’m grateful that I learned to swim as a child. But don’t be discouraged if you never learned to swim! The other day I met a woman in her 60’s who just learned to swim. If she can do it, so can you.
What’s your favorite form of cardio to do?