Think you need to join a gym to get a good cardio workout in? You don't. Hate running? No problem. Running on treadmills or using an elliptical at the gym isn't the only cardio workout that you can do. There are so many others kinds of cardio workouts that you can do. Machines such as the treadmill, elliptical or stairmaster are great for people who enjoy them, but for people who don't ... it can be a real drag. Finding what you like to do is the key to being successful during a healthy and active lifestyle.
If you don't like running on the treadmill, chances are you won't, which will in turn lead to failure. Check out some of the most awesome cardio moves you can do to get your heart rate and burn tons of calories.
Jumping Jacks: I'm sure you remember doing endless amounts of jumping jacks during your middle school gym class. Jumping jacks are an excellent cardiovascular exercise. It really gets your heart rate up, and it's also a full body move. Your legs, arms and core are all working during this movement. Believe it or not, there are a couple different variations of jumping jacks that you can try to spice up your workout.
Seal jumping jacks: Perform a regular jumping jack but instead of putting your arms up, bring your arms out to the side and back to middle (like a seal). You can also perform "explosive" jumping jacks. These have a ton of different names such as star jumping jacks, or as P90X calls them, X jumping jacks. To perform this kind of jumping jack, bring both feet off the ground and jump in the air as you do one jack. Land softly when you come down.
Jump Rope: Jumping rope used to be such a popular activity back when I was a little kid. I was always outside trying to double dutch. I wasn’t very good ... but it's one of the best cardio workouts. The circling of the arms really targets your biceps. Jumping rope is a full body, cardiovascular exercise that can be done almost anywhere. If you were someone who loved jumping roping as a kid, rummage through your old toys and find that jump rope. Or, if you got rid of your toys, go buy one. They are super cheap. Or just make the jumping roping motion with your hands.
Dancing: Zumba is all the rage right now. Almost everyone I know has tried Zumba at least once. Zumba is one of the many dances that is considered a cardiovascular exercise. Any kind of dancing really gets your heart rate up and burns mega calories. There are so many kinds of dances you can do from Latin to line dancing. Not a fan of dance classes? Just bump up the stereo in your room and jump around. Dancing is such a fun activity that you can do with your friends, family, boyfriend or girlfriend. It's such an effective exercise and can even help with toning.
Kickboxing: If you haven't already tried this, go try it right now. Kickboxing is one my favorite workouts. It gets your heart beating and your blood pumping. I would prefer kickboxing over the treadmill any day. Aside from kickboxing being a cardio exercise, it really tones you up. Throwing punches and kicks tones the legs, arms and abs. If you don't have a boxing bag, no problem, kick the air. You don’t have to take a class. There are a ton of moves you can do standing in your living room such as jabs, uppercuts, blocks, front kicks, sidekicks and back kicks. Kickboxing really gets you sweating. I promise you won't regret this workout.
Stairs: Stairs are great to incorporate into your workout, even if you are a person who enjoys the treadmill. Running or walking up and down stairs boosts your heart rate and gives your legs and butt a killer workout. Want to look good in shorts? Stop doing so many squats and hit the stairs. Many people have stairs in their house that they can use. If not, find your local track and use the bleachers. Any kind of stairs will do.
Step: Ever taken a step class? If not, you're missing out. Step classes are fun, challenging and are just an overall great workout. Many gyms that offer classes offer step. If you're not into the gym scene and want to still participate in step, try step DVDs. These classes focus on your butt and legs. Many step classes also do a short arm and ab workout utilizing the step. If you are a beginner, it's a good idea to start with a beginner class. Trust me, I walked into an advanced step class one time and it was not a pretty site. Make sure you go at your own pace.
Cardio DVDs: Looking for something you can do at home? Check out some workout DVDs. There are a billion workout DVDs for every kind of person on the planet. If you're looking for a cardio DVD, check out some that are kickboxing, dancing or specifically say cardio. The great thing about DVDs is that they incorporate a warm up and cool down, which is important to warm up and cool down. Many people tend to skip out on this part of the workout but that's not good. DVDs give you the whole package. It's kind of like having your own personal trainer in your home.
You don't need to join a gym or purchase a thousand dollar fancy piece of cardio equipment. Anything that gets your heart rate up and lasts for at least 30 minutes is considered to be cardiovascular exercise. Find what you like and do it.
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