Cardio exercises are physical activities that heighten your heart rate while using oxygen to meet energy demands. You could be engaging in some of these exercises for fun without knowing that they help you stay fit and healthy.
This article explores the ten best cardio exercises; jogging, burpees, jumping jacks, cycling, swimming, jump rope, squat jumps, and more. They have various benefits ranging from toning your muscles to protecting your heart from diseases, helping you lose weight, and even gain flexibility.
If you can’t fly, run, and if you can’t run, then jog! Jogging is a less intense aerobic version of running. You could go jogging to meet different needs. For example, to keep fit, lose weight, or for companionship—where you go running with a friend, your spouse, or as a club.
Some of the benefits of jogging include:
- It helps you burn calories.
- Build stronger muscles.
- It helps you stay healthy.
- It maintains a healthy heart.
If you are a beginner or have any underlying health conditions, be sure to go for a check-up before setting up a jogging routine. Additionally, wear the right shoes to avoid injuries.
2. Jumping Jacks
Jumping jacks appear to be playful yet, with consistency, and when done correctly, they can offer many benefits. You jump with your legs apart and repeatedly clap your arms over your head.
It is easy and will exercise various muscles of the body. Regular jumping jacks will:
- Guarantee you a healthy heart by stimulating its muscles and reducing your chances of contracting cardiovascular diseases like stroke.
- Tone your muscles.
- Help you lose weight. Ten minutes of jumping jacks can burn 100 calories.
For better results, tighten your core while jumping.
Twenty minutes of burpees can burn up to 250 calories. They are less common cardio exercises done by first doing a pushup then combining it with an air leap. Your back must be straight and your hands flat on the ground.
Apart from burning calories, burpees engage your whole body and strengthen the muscles in your hips, arms, shoulders, chest, abdomen, and legs. Burpees can also boost your blood flow, brain function, and cholesterol levels, reduce blood pressure, and strengthen your heart and muscles. To intensify these exercises, you can use dumbbells, a Bosu ball, or a box jump.
Perhaps, this could end up being your favorite cardio exercise. You might have been part of dances at weddings, parties, and anywhere with good music. Whether slow or vigorous, depending on your dancing style, dancing is fun. Some types of dances include; jazz, salsa, ballet, ballroom dancing, square dancing, tap-dancing, etc.
Dancing has various physical and mental benefits that can improve your wellness. They include;
- Elevating your self-esteem and improving your mental functioning.
- Strengthening your muscles, bones and improving your flexibility.
- Burning fat.
- Bettering your heart and lung health.
Remember to wear appropriate clothing during the dances, do warm-up exercises before starting, and carry out regular leg-strengthening workouts.
5. Jump rope
This cardio exercise is as direct as the name sounds -jumping rope. All you need is a jumping rope, space, and energy. Fifteen minutes of jumping rope could help you burn 200-300 calories surpassing other cardio workouts such as running, bicycle riding, and swimming. It also improves the coordination of your body organs. Other benefits include;
- Reduces your chances of getting injuries.
- It strengthens your bone density.
- It makes your heart better and healthier.
6. Stair climbing/running
Thanks to existing elevators and escalators, you don’t have to climb stairs. Nevertheless, if you could take a flashback to one moment you took the stairs, then you probably remember the impact it had, such as your heart racing, sweating, and even panting. Stair climbing is the most versatile exercise since stairs exist almost everywhere.
You could consider making it a routine workout, especially after taking note of the following benefits.
- Stair climbing/running targets your lower body and tones your bum, thighs, and hips.
- It has pretty similar effects as squats and lunges, which make your muscles stronger.
- If you do it regularly, it’ll help you burn calories and lose weight.
- As you huff and puff while climbing stairs, your metabolism rate improves.
7. Squat jumps
The difference between this squat and other squats is quite noticeable—you have to jump. You begin with a squat, jump, then land back in a squatting position. Squat jumps target your hips, hamstrings, glutes, and quads. The muscles around these areas become strong, and you can lose weight with a well-planned routine. They also lower your risk of getting injuries and boost your flexibility.
You require a punching bag and a little guidance such as video if you are a beginner with no previous training. Even though it focuses on the core, kickboxing engages your whole body. As a result, you can burn up to 450 calories in an hour, boost your flexibility, and improve your balance.
Bicycle riding is among the best physical activities to achieve fitness. Apart from being enjoyable, it is favorable for people of all ages. Cycling reduces your chances of becoming mentally ill, obese, getting heart disease, cancer, arthritis, and diabetes. Besides its health benefits, cycling is fun, easy, has low impact, and is one of your muscles’ best cardio workouts.
You may have been going swimming for recreational reasons, but it is a great cardio workout. Swimming is a full-body workout that tones your muscles and makes them stronger. In addition, swimming maintains a healthy heart, keeps your weight in check, and calms your mind.
In conclusion, cardio exercises are not only enjoyable but also beneficial to your physical and mental health. Try them out and see the results. You can choose to combine a couple of them with other workouts for a better outcome. Remember to be gentle with yourself, check with the doctor to avoid complications, and take rests between exercises. Also, stay hydrated, start small as you aim higher, and always put on the right outfit.