When someone says the word ‘cardio’ to you, what instantly comes to mind? Do you tend to immediately think of running along on the treadmill, using the elliptical, or pedaling as fast as possible on the bike?
Perhaps you think of interval training, done on one of the many different types of cardio equipment options.
The fact is, while these are all ways that you can do cardio training, they are certainly not the only ways to get things done. Cardio can be much more than this, which is why you need to approach it with an open mind.
Let’s look at some of the alternative approaches to cardio training to consider.
Bodyweight Circuit Training
One great way to get your cardio training in that won’t feel like a regular old boring cardio session is through bodyweight circuit training.
Put together a circuit using a variety of different exercises such as squats, push-ups, mountain climbers, jumping jacks, sit-ups, burpees, and so forth.
Run through the circuit, doing 15-20 reps per exercise and resting only once the entire circuit is completed. Then run through it 2-3 more times until you’ve finished your 20-30 minute cardio session (or however long you wish to do it for).
Outdoor Cardio Activities
Don’t forget that you can take your cardio activities outdoors as well. Whether this means rollerblading along a trail in your area, flipping tires in a local farmers field (for a very intense calorie burning workout!), taking in a game of tennis with a friend, or going for a run amongst a hilly path in your area.
All of these are great options for cardio training and can give you a nice change of pace from the gym. Sometimes a change of scenery is all that’s really needed to get you having fun with your cardio training again.
Why not have both?
Heavy Weight Lifting Activities
Intense weight lifting activities should not be overlooked as a means of cardio training. Most people think that cardio needs to be done on a cardio machine while weight lifting is done using free weights.
Structure your intense weight lifting workout routine to include shorter rest periods between the heavy sets you are doing (not so short that you can’t lift heavy though!) and you’ll see just how high you can get your heart rate up.
This is actually one of the best ways to burn fat and promote a leaner, more defined body at the same time.
Finally, last but not least you have lifestyle exercise. Whether this is going for a walk with your significant other after dinner, taking in some window shopping with a friend, or playing a game of Frisbee with your kids on a lazy Saturday afternoon – all of these are excellent means of getting your heart rate up and getting some cardiovascular conditioning in.
Not all cardio has to cause you to breath very heavily. While it’s great to get that sort of cardio in, a balance in the intensities is best (and allows you to recover optimally!).
So keep these points in mind if you are planning your next cardio workout. Break away from the thinking that cardio has to take place on a bike, elliptical or treadmill.