Because there are many ways to exercise, people often want to know which is the best. Ultimately, the best form of exercise for you is the type(s) that you will adhere to consistently. Here are some cardio workout plan options.
Cardiovascular workouts, where you keep your heart rate elevated for a sustained period, are essential to burn calories, strengthen the heart and lungs and build endurance. It is one of the best ways to achieve overall fitness. Essentially, there is cardiovascular exercise, like jogging; strength training, where you work against resistance; and flexibility or stretching. Most exercises fall into one of these categories.
So what should a cardio workout plan look like? Ideally, you dedicate 2-6 days a week to exercise, and try to include cardio activities at least twice weekly for 20-60 minutes. This will help with foundational conditioning and boosting stamina.
Choose from a variety of options, depending on your preferences and access to various pieces of equipment:
- Jogging or running – outside, on a track, treadmill
- Brisk walking – to get the heart rate up, you need to move quickly and not simply stroll
- Bicycling – outdoors or inside on an upright or recumbent bike, or in a group cycling class
- Elliptical trainer – great for low-impact, total-body workouts
- Lateral trainers – a new twist on ellipticals that targets the hips and inner and outer thighs
- Stairclimber – a challenging routine where you lift your own body weight repeatedly
- Rowing – another low-impact, total-body regimen
- Dancing – can provide a vigorous workout if it is sustained and high-intensity
- Group exercise classes or DVDs – cardio workouts include boot camps, low-impact, kickboxing, step, aqua and more
- Cross-country skiing – obviously a seasonal activity, but an outstanding calorie-burner
- Swimming – doing laps using various strokes provides all-over toning
- Inline skating – outside or on a rink, this is a powerful lower-body workout
It’s clear that there are many options, and an effective cardio workout plan incorporates cross training, where you don’t perform the same exercises day after day. Instead, you may run on Monday, cycle on Wednesday and do the elliptical on Friday, for example. You’ll maintain motivation and get better results if you vary your cardio workout plan over time. Get started today!