3 Unconventional Cardio Exercises You Can Do Today
In my previous post, I explained why cardio is so important to our workout regimen, and I gave you some sweet benefits, too. Today, I want to share with you some great UNconventional ways of getting your cardio sweat on without "just running". Some people think that cardio is only running outdoors, running on the treadmill or elliptical, climbing the stair master, or to be a real go-getter, swimming. Truth is, cardio comes in so many varying forms! You can go to the club and get in a cardio workout in, LOL.
But in all seriousness, there are many ways to get a great cardio workout, and in the process, enjoy what you're doing, save time, and be efficient with it. Some many people have come to me asking the simple question of "how much cardio should I do?". Well, tune in to my next post for the answer to that question. I PROMISE it's not what you may think.
For this post, I want to share with you some of my favorite types of cardio exercises that you can add to your workout program today, without stretching your workout another 20-30 minutes.
Tabata training was discovered by Japanese scientist, Dr. Izumi Tabata. Through research, Dr. Izumi and his team at the National Institute of Fitness and Sports in Tokyo determined that doing High Intensity Interval Training, or H.I.I.T. workouts, increases your aerobic and anaerobic systems far more significantly than a typical 1 hour workout. This is, by far, my FAVORITE method of working out these days. What I love about it is the workouts are super quick, they are intense, they promote higher fat loss because of a higher metabolic rate (this is the energy your burns when you're at rest, so your body is still working to burn fat even when you're long done - how about THAT?!), and you increase your stamina because you're increasing your anaerobic (muscle) and aerobic (cardiovascular) system. The gist of the workouts are you exert yourself in any given exercise for 20 seconds. Then you rest for 10 seconds. You complete 8 rounds of this for a total of four minutes. Let me tell you, ANYTHING is a challenge if you give it a solid 20 seconds effort, eight times in a row! Check out this series of exercises and try them in a tabata workout.
Plyometrics (or "plyos", as I call them) also allow you to give 100% effort. They cause you to pay more attention to proper form in your exercise so that you don't injure yourself. But they provide a lot of stamina, and help you to build muscle and quicken your response time. Plyos give you increased output capacity, so you're doing more within the exercise because of the response time that you have to have, and they increase your muscular endurance. These two exercises below are just a tiny peep into the plyometric world, but believe me, some plyometric exercises can be very intense, and are out of this world!
Dancing can be so underrated sometimes. Think about how many times you've gone out to a bar or club. You got all dressed up, looking cute. Only to go to the venue and hold up the wall. Take that opportunity to get in a great workout! How many line dances do you know that go on for 5-10 minutes? That's a workout in itself. So the next time you plan on going out, remember, you can burn more calories than you can drink, and you can still have fun!Dancing has a large calorie burn that incorporates interval training. You're dancing to one song, resting in between. This is also great for body toning and weight loss, and dancing also improves coordination, which is very important in our older years.
Another form of dance that may have your family participating or thinking you're a little crazy are what I call commercial break dances. Simply put, if you're watching TV, when a commercial comes on, turn on the music, and break into an all out dance session for two and a half minutes. If you do have a gym membership, don't underestimate the power of Zumba. It's such a great exercise. You're working out your entire body and don't even realize it because you're having so much fun. Each instructor is different, so each class will be different, but the results are all the same if you stick with it. Check out this dance fitness video by Sid Vicious. She's giving a little instruction at the beginning, but the dance is the cutest, and you're working EVERY part of your body!
All of these forms of cardio and dance are amazing exercise that we sometimes forego. But incorporating them into our lives promotes a lifetime of fitness. Keep it fun, make it yours, and start to see the changes happen.